Legal advice on work-related back injuries - from a Kent expert
PUBLISHED: 13:24 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 18:09 20 February 2013
Why carrying out risk assessments makes for a happier, more productive environment for everyone
Legal advice on work-related back injuries
At some point in their life everyone gets the feeling that their back has gone. It might be from pushing oneself just a bit too far in the garden or lugging one too many bags back from the sales.
The only thing you can do is learn from your experience and hope that youll avoid doing the same thing in the future. But what if you keep doing it while you are at work?
Work-related back injuries are one of the commonest forms of accidents and can arise in so many ways. The three main areas, however, are by lifting, falling or having a workstation-related problem.
Most of us carry out lifting, whether we have heavy physical activity based jobs or more sedentary office-based one. It might vary from moving half a ton of stock to getting a new box of paper for the photocopier. These sound like very different scenarios, but they carry exactly the same risk. To avoid a problem, you need to make sure that your employer has done two things.
The first is to make sure that the risk you are facing has been reduced to a minimum by cutting the amount of lifting you have to do. It might be something as simple as making sure that the paper is kept closer to the copier, or using mechanical aids for larger lifting jobs.
The second thing is to ensure that you are properly trained. The majority of accidents can be avoided with the application of common sense and the right amount of training. If you dont do much lifting it can be done with a five-minute demonstration of the correct lifting techniques and a simple leaflet.
Back problems can sometimes arise from your workstation set up. If you spend a lot of time using computers then you can be become prone to back and other problems. An inappropriate chair, poor lighting, a cluttered desk or faulty equipment can all force you to change your posture, which after a while can lead to back pain a sure fire sign of an unhealthy back.
Once again, the solution to the problem is applying common sense and a little knowledge. Carrying out a risk assessment not only makes sure that any problems which exist can be resolved, but also means that as an employee, you have a comfortable and pleasant working environment. The benefit for the boss is a happier, healthier and more productive member of staff.
The final category of causes for back injuries is falls. These might be tripping over an obstacle or falling from a ladder, but the end result is the same. Whatever your job, if you have been properly trained and we all take responsibility for our working environment, then most accidents (and not just back injuries) can be avoided.
If you do end up with a bad back , or any other type of injury at work, then the two top tips are to report it to your employer and go and see your doctor. If you let your employer know, you are protecting your colleagues from similar problems and improving the workplace.
As to seeing your doctor, an un-assessed injury can be the route for many future problems and can escalate into very serious conditions if left untreated. It is one thing have a bad back again, but another it becoming permanent.
Gemma Daniels specialises in claimant personal injury cases at Whitehead Monckton and is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (see also Whitehead Moncktons new website on personal injury: www.kentcompensation.com). Gemma graduated from Sussex University with honours in Law in 2005 and studied for her Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (LPC) at the Inns of Court School of Law in London. She qualified as a solicitor in 2008. Gemma was born in Kent and outside of work enjoys cooking and horse riding.