New Jersey Construction Can Take a Heavy Toll on Workers’ Backs
Back injuries are the leading cause of missed work in the United States. It should come as no surprise that construction workers are more susceptible to back injuries than those in almost any other industry. In fact, 25 percent of injuries to construction workers involve the back. One in 100 construction workers miss a week or more of work due to a back injury every year. Liberty Mutual, a workers’ compensation insurance provider, estimates that overexertion injuries are the main cause of back injuries to construction workers.
Causes of Back Injuries
Forty-three percent of all work-related injuries involve sprains and strains. Not surprisingly, most back injuries are also sprains and strains to back muscles. Workers are at high risk for back injuries if they must often lift, lower, carry, push or pull heavy loads. Workers who must twist while doing these activities or otherwise work in awkward positions are even more likely to suffer back injuries.
A back injury requires individualized treatment from a medical facility; workers with back injuries should immediately consult with a doctor regarding proper treatment. Common treatments for back pain caused by overexertion include bed rest (although not too much), topical creams or heating pads, and prescription medication to allow the injured worker to properly rest and sleep at night. A doctor may also advise stretching and strengthening exercises along with physical therapy and injections in order for the back to heal properly and to avoid future injuries.
For severe back conditions that don’t improve with time or with other treatments, surgery may be an option. Surgery may involve removing a herniated disk, widening space around the spinal cord or fusing two spinal vertebrae together.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
When an employee suffers an injury at work, he or she can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits include payment for the reasonable and necessary medical care used to treat the injury, such as the back-injury treatments outlined above.
Construction workers suffering from back problems should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.