Back injuries are common among workers who have to transport heavy items, including construction employees, industrial workers and warehousing positions. Lifting too much weight can cause muscle strain. Repetitive motions like twisting, bending or rotating can cause wear on your spinal structure or tear muscles. These injuries can limit your ability to do your job, and returning to work can put you at risk of re-injury. Can you protect yourself from a back injury when you return to work?
Returning to work may happen before you have fully healed.
Pennsylvania encourages workers to return to their job as soon as possible after a workplace injury. While this can help you avoid lost wages, it could also put you at risk.
Studies have indicated that the same job tasks that cause back injuries can put you at risk of re-injury. Full body vibrations like the impact of using a jackhammer or the vibrations caused by driving a forklift are often linked to re-injury. Fast-paced environments and heavier physical demands may also contribute to re-injury.
Work restrictions could help prevent reinjury.
Because your activities in the workplace can contribute to the risk of re-injury, it is essential to work with your healthcare providers and your employer to make accommodations. Light duty, work station modifications and other precautions can help prevent re-injury. The state encourages your employer to negotiate with you to create a plan that works for you and your recovery.
You should also notify your employer and healthcare provider as soon as possible if your assigned work creates additional pain.
By working with both your employer and your healthcare providers, it is possible to return to your workplace and protect the health of your back.