An important safety challenge at all workplaces — whether it’s an office, a construction site or an amusement park — is the prevention of serious back injuries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 1 million employees contract back injuries as a result of their employment each year. Furthermore, a fourth of workers’ compensation claims are for back-related injuries. In this respect, back injuries cost employers billions of dollars each year, in addition to all the pain and mobility issues suffered by the employees who have the injuries.

Lifting, carrying, placing, lowering and holding items — even items that are not very heavy — are some of the most common causes of on-the-job back injuries, accounting for three-fourths of them. Meanwhile, 80 percent of these injuries involve the lower back. Additionally, it is important to note that sedentary jobs, where a worker sits at a desk for long stretches of time are also risky for back injuries.

Due to the prevalence of back injuries, it is important for employers and businesses to do everything they can to provide safety instruction, training and ergonomic working environments that minimize the risks associated with them. In fact, employers can be held accountable by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to offer smart designs and control programs to reduce these dangers to workers.

New Jersey employees suffering from employment-related back injuries can seek money to pay for medical care through the New Jersey workers’ compensation program. Workers may also want to seek help from an experienced employment benefits lawyer to assist with the workers’ compensation claim application process.

Source: University of Maryland Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk, “Back Injuries,” accessed Sep. 28, 2016