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How Common are Back Injuries in the Workplace?

Over One Million Back Injuries Annually

Workplace injuries are unfortunately common, with millions of workers across numerous industries being hospitalized each year. Beginning in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began tracking these injuries, occupational illnesses, and fatalities to monitor the danger and incidence rate of workplace accidents.

According to their data, more than one million workers suffer back injuries annually, making it one of the most common injuries in the workplace.

The Most High-Risk Occupations

From slouching at a desk to loading cargo, nearly every industry can come with the possibility of sustaining a back injury. However, there are some places of employment where the likelihood of these injuries resulting in days off from work is heightened. Here are the top five from 2016, according to BLS:

  • Nurses or nursing assistants: 52.8% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Store clerks and order fillers: 45.7% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers: 43% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Maintenance and repair workers: 42.5% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Janitors and cleaners: 37.5% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Back injuries also make up about 38.5% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among all occupations. Nursing assistants and laborers/hand material movers alone account for 15.6% of all cases.

Preventing Back Injuries

There are many things that both employers and employees can do to minimize the risk of a back injury. One of the most important is implementing mandatory break times. While this is not a legal requirement in South Carolina, longer breaks have proven to increase the amount of time an employee can go without injury and minimize worker fatigue.

Other things that employees can do include:

  • Having proper posture.
  • Lifting heavy items properly (with the knees).
  • Avoiding repetitive tasks that may cause aches and strains.
  • Stretching and working on strengthening your core when off the clock.

Being more mindful of how even small work tasks can lead to an injury will make everyone have a safer workplace and easier day-to-day.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Our Lexington attorneys believe that every employee is entitled to a workday free from the risk of an injury. If your job functions have led to your back injury or other medical condition, know that you have a right to seek workers' compensation for medical costs and lost wages.

If you have questions about the claims process or your workers' compensation is being refused, call (803) 403-1485 to discuss your options.