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Cumulative Back Injuries

Home » Personal Services » Industrial Disease Claims » Cumulative Back Injuries

What Are Cumulative Back Injuries?

Back pain is very common and will generally improve within a few weeks or months. Cumulative Back problems are a result of minor misuse or lifting over a period of time. Repetitive misuse such as improper lifting techniques used daily during work. Lower back pain is the most common type of chronic back pain and may be attributed to poor posture over many years, lack of exercise, improper lifting techniques. Often the pain does not occur immediately after the injury.

What are the Common industries that put you at Risk?

The risk to suffering a cumulative back problem as a result of work is not limited to a finite number of industries as literally anyone who undertakes any kind of manual handling operation will be at risk if this is not performed appropriately.

What is a Manual Handling Operation?

As defined by the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 it is any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof).

Manual handling operations as defined by the relevant regulations can be seen in countless jobs. A number of examples are:

  • Home carer assistant who is required to lift patients from bed to wheelchairs
  • A worker pushing heavy trolleys distributing goods
  • Furniture removers moving and delivering furniture
  • People having to carry/move goods within a warehouse/distribution centre

These are just a few examples of manual handling operations that can occur in numerous jobs/roles.

What Should Your Employer Do to Ensure You Are Safe?

So far as is possibly your employer should avoid the need for you to undertake any manual handling operation.
If it is not possible to avoid manual handling then a risk assessment of the manual handling procedure should be done and all appropriate steps to reduce the risks of injury to the lowest level reasonably practicable should be taken. Including:

  • Appropriate training on the correct method to lift
  • Appropriate information about the weight and distribution of load that is being moved
  • Appropriate lifting aids such as hoist if appropriate
  • Assessment on the individual abilities to undertake the said manual handling operation
  • Assessment on the working environment e.g. are there any space constraints, uneven slippery or unstable surface.

Failure to undertake Risk Assessment on manual handling operations will be a breach of an Employers duty to their Employees and any injury caused by this breach will be compensated in damages.

How is Back pain treated?

If your pain does not go on its own, your GP or physiotherapist may recommend the following measures:

  • Group exercise classes – where you are given exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture
  • Manual therapy – treatments such as manipulating the spine and massage, usually carried out by physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths
  • Psychological support such as Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) This is something that may be considered if you are struggling to cope with a severe debilitating injury.

If you are or have suffered from back pain which you feel could be as a result of manual handling operations undertaken at work you could be entitled to compensation from your employer.

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Tim Fieldhouse

Solicitor and Head of Industrial Disease

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