Back injuries can range in severity from relatively minor muscle or tendon sprains to severe injuries such as fractured vertebra involving spinal cord damage. Mild to moderate injuries often occur as the result of an overexertion of some type, while the most severe injuries are typically induced by a bad fall.
Because of the physical nature of construction work and its variety of work situations, back injury is a common problem that causes many of its victims to miss work for a week or up to more than a month. Sometimes its severity may prevent a worker from ever working in construction or other physically demanding jobs again.
Back Injury Causes
- Overexertion or repetitive motion. The construction environment is often makeshift and therefore doesn't always have conveniently located lifting devices. In addition, the worker may not be positioned in the most ergonomic manner because of space restrictions or location, such as on the top of a sloped roof. Nevertheless, lifting may be necessary, which places a lot of strain on the lower back. The work may involve repetitive bending, lifting, and twisting the back. Sometimes work requires a hunched over position for hours at a time. This fatigues the back muscles and makes an injury more likely.
- Falls. People may work on ladders, elevated platforms, scaffolds, or rooftops. Fatigue, distraction, poor weather, or a slippery surface can cause a fall from height. Uncovered trenches and holes can also cause fall injuries. The severity of back injuries from falls will depend on the height, the nature of the landing, and the presence of objects in the landing area that can cause severe injury such as a broken back. Falls can also occur while climbing because of improper climbing technique or a slippery surface.
Although the construction environment is often makeshift, safety precautions against falls should never be lacking, such as guardrails or some type of fall protection system. In addition, you shouldn't be forced to continue working when a back injury occurs. If either of these two situations or other employer negligence caused a workplace injury, contact us for legal advice.