Back pain affects many of us at some point in our lives and it can brought on by bad posture while sitting or standing or occur as a result of lifting a heavy object incorrectly.

Bad posture and incorrect lifting are two prime examples of how it is possible to sustain an injury whilst at work.

There are situations where your employer should have taken better steps to ensure you did not suffer an injury to your back and this is often the point where firms like Claims Direct are called in to provide help in getting you compensation for their negligence.

Common injuries

Prevention is better than cure, and therefore it makes sound sense to understand how back injuries occur in the first place and how accidents and injuries can be avoided in the workplace.

Millions of work days are lost each year due to employees having to take time off to recover from a workplace-related accident or injury and although less than 1% actually suffer a fatality, about 2 million believe that their work has caused them to suffer an illness or injury.

Back injuries rank highly amongst the most common injuries and the most likely accident you are going to suffer at work is a trip, slip or fall, followed by an electrical incident or an injury sustained due to manual handling or lifting.

The most typical complaints are sprains and strains and workers also regularly suffer from back, head and neck injuries. Repetitive strain injuries are also common ailments that workers are likely to suffer as a result of carrying out their required duties.

Manual handling

Almost one third of accidents at work involve some form of manual handling.

Estimates suggest that over one million people suffer from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) as a result of lifting, pushing or moving a load.

Your employer is obliged to carry out adequate risk assessments of manual handling tasks to ensure your safety is not put at risk and every effort has been made to avoid you becoming an MSD statistic.

There are laws in the UK that are enforced by the HSE and their Manual Handling Operations Regulations give clear guidelines and advice for employers to follow before allowing their employees to carry out any manual handling tasks.

Risk assessment

The principle behind carrying out a suitable risk assessment is reduce the prospect of an injury caused by manual handling to reasonably practical levels.

In order to do this, the employer needs to look at four key aspects that combine to create the major handling risks that you face. An assessment needs to look at the size of the load, the person carrying out the task, the suitability of the working environment and the task itself.

What this means is that size, weight and shape of the load needs to be considered and with regard to the person being asked to do the lifting, whether their age, physical ability or other factors have been taken into account.

Many things can be done to prevent injuries like MSD happening at work and if you are asked to carry out a task that you think might cause you an injury, ask your employer if they have carried out a suitable risk assessment.

Samuel White is an occupational therapist. He enjoys sharing his experiences on the web. His articles appear on many health and lifestyle articles.

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