Back pain can be excruciating and can severely impede someone’s ability to go about their day to day tasks. However, it is one of the most common work-related illnesses reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In 2013/14 the estimated prevalence of work-related back injuries was a staggering 228,000 workers.
Reducing the risks of back pain at work
What can cause back pain at work? Some of the common tasks which put the back under strain and cause pain are:
- Lifting heavy items or awkward, bulky loads.
- Attempting to carry loads in an awkward manner, such as with one hand.
- Repetitive tasks which involve bending or stooping for periods of time.
- Driving long distances, especially if seats cannot be adjusted.
- Poor posture sitting and bending at desks and computers.
- Pushing, pulling or dragging heavy items without the adequate equipment.
- Stretching, twisting or reaching for items out of reach.
- Prolonged periods of time in the same position.
Most back pain will ease with rest, however sometimes more serious conditions can occur including slipped discs or trapped nerves. Problems with your back in the workplace should be monitored, and anything that can be introduced which may improve your condition and make the working environment less of a risk should be introduced by employers.
It is important that employers speak with staff to find out what can be done to improve working environments and lower the risk of back pain. They should also provide adequate training for staff on the correct way to lift and carry heavy items, as well as correct positions for sitting or standing to do particular tasks.
Other things employers can do include:
- Looking at any practical help they can give such as providing trolley or pulleys to move heavy loads, adjusting the height of worktops etc.
- Have regular reviews with employees to identify concerns and where things can be improved.
- Quickly respond to employees who are experiencing back pain to provide support and rectify any problems.
- Undertake regular risk assessments and make the appropriate changes when needed.
Due to the prevalence of back pain in the workplace, it is important that employers do all that they can to improve employee safety and avoid work-related illness.
If you have sustained back injury in an accident at work or due to the environment, we can help you. Freeclaim Solicitors are specialist accident at work compensation solicitors. We have over 30 years’ experience helping people to claim compensation after a workplace accident or illness.
You can call us FREE 24 hours a day on 0800 612 7340. All enquiries are completely free with no obligation, and all our accident at work claims are taken on a no win, no fee basis, so there’s no risk to you.