Are you aware of the risk of back pain in the workplace?

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 17 July 2017

While there's always the risk of a catastrophic fall or some other disaster that might cause a grave injury in the workplace, the more likely way to put yourself in harm's way as an employee is much simpler - it's back pain. Far and away, it's the most common type of workplace injury.

Injuries to your back usually don't come about because of a one-time incident - rather, they're the result of gradual wear and tear to your body over time. If you're aware of how back pain happens and what its impact can be, you can better prepare yourself to stave off injury. Here's what you need to know about the problem.

1. How serious a problem is back pain?

Back pain might not seem like much, but it really is a widespread issue. A worldwide study led by the University of Sydney revealed that nearly 80 per cent of Australians will experience back trouble at some point in their lives, and that this figure is increasing because of factors such as obesity and inactive lifestyles.

The problem is most common among people who work in the agricultural sector. Age-wise, it most often affects those in the bracket between 35 and 60. These aren't the only individuals affected, though. Back trouble can strike anyone, and nationwide, it causes a total of about $4.8 billion in damages annually.

2. What can you do to protect yourself?

Once you're aware that back pain can be an issue, what can you do about it? For starters, you can be careful about putting yourself in danger. Try to avoid lifting items that are too heavy to pick up on your own, and discuss risk factors with your employer if you're worried about certain tasks that might affect your back.

Bear in mind that back pain can happen even if you aren't doing anything too strenuous. Simply sitting at a desk, you might be affected. Take regular breaks from work to stretch your muscles if you're feeling stiff, and don't ignore any minor aches and pains that crop up. They can get worse if neglected.

3. Can you claim damages from your employer?

What if you end up with a back injury at work and suspect that your employer might be to blame? If they've assigned you unsafe work responsibilities, or failed to give you ample time to rest after a tough job, your bosses may well be at fault.

Meet with a lawyer to discuss your situation and see if you might be entitled to compensation. At Marshall and Gibson Lawyers, we have a team of experts in house who will be happy to listen.

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