Posted on Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 at 3:11 pm
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), there are numerous reasons why back injuries are a major cause of lost work days. Back disorders generally occur in one of two ways:
A single traumatic event or a combination of a single traumatic event that aggravates an accumulated problem both generally constitute compensable, valid injuries under workers compensation law in both Virginia and North Carolina; however, cumulative injuries by themselves are generally not compensable and do not constitute a valid workers compensation claim.
Also, while usually in North Carolina, a “slip, trip, or fall” is required to prove an injury by accident, an exception is carved out in the law with respect to back injuries. Evidence of a single, traumatic event is usually sufficient to prove a back injury in North Carolina.
Virginia also only requires a single, traumatic event, but there must also be a “risk of employment” associated with the accident. This means that if one is simply injured suddenly in the course of performing one’s duties in Virginia, unless there is something that is a “risk” posed by the employment, i.e. a very heavy weight being lifted, a defective piece of equipment, or a weight suddenly shifting, simply feeling sudden back pain will not rise to the level of a valid injury in Virginia. In North Carolina, with respect only to back injuries, it would, so long as the injured worker can point to a specific moment when the pain started during the performance of work duties.
Often, workers and employers fail to treat back problems which accumulate over time – until the symptoms become very so severe, so acute – that the cause a disabling injury. Some of the causes of back injuries include improper lifting techniques or lifting loads that are just too heavy for the worker’s body.
Often, the single traumatic event is really due to “years of weakening of the musculoskeletal support mechanism by repetitive micro-trauma. Injuries can arise in muscle, ligament, vertebrae, and discs, either singly or in combination.”
Once again, unfortunately, these types of back injuries, if not precipitated or aggravated by a single traumatic event that the injured worker can point to, will not give rise to a valid workers compensation claim.
OSHA states that back injuries from working aren’t known to cause fatalities. They do, however, cause a lot of pain and suffering and lost productivity. Back injuries affect nearly 600,000 employees on a yearly basis at a cot of nearly $50 billion annually. As the average age of employees increases, the cost to treat and pay disabled workers is likely to rise.
Some of the workplace activities that cause deterioration of muscles, discs, joints, and ligaments – which in turn cause back injuries – include:
Some loads are much harder to lift or move than other loads. Generally, any load that is more than 50 pounds should be moved or lifted by using some of the following equipment or strategies:
OSHA states the employers and employees can help each other in the following ways:
“Principal variables in evaluating manual lifting tasks to determine how heavy a load can be lifted are:
Other manual lifting variables include examining space constraints, the size of the load, and the stability of the load.
Once all these variables are known, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the US CDC – has a formula for determining whether a lift is safe or not.
OSHA further recommends the following safety tips for manually handling objects to help avoid the risk of bank injuries:
Virginia and North Workers’ Compensation Attorney Joe Miller Esq. understands back pain injuries. He workers with your doctors and independent doctors, when necessary, to diagnose your pain and prepare a full prognosis for your recovery. He’s helped thousands of injured workers get just recoveries. For help with your work injury claim, due to a back injury or for any reasons, call lawyer Joe Miller at 888-667-8295. or fill out my contact form to make an appointment.