Incidents at your workplace leading to back pain

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common kind of injury at work and also includes back pain. MSD, as they are called, can be brought on by many different factors such as the wrong tools for the job, doing work for too long without having breaks and working whilst in an uncomfortable or awkward position. Many of these can be causes of back pain at work, along with others, more associated with back injuries, specifically recurring and heavier lifting and bending and twisting or repeating some movements too frequently.

Most back pain is aggravated by means of other conditions such as poor posture, stress, strained muscles or ligaments and more common wear and tear. In many cases it isn't overly severe and often will soon disappear but all workers should be aware, whenever lifting and carrying especially, of the potential for trouble if they do not get ready properly.

Through millions of working days and nights wasted through work-related back pain every year, it's clear that this has the potential to significantly impact the economy and it has a significant impact on just about all workplaces.


Back injuries are usually the most common injuries at the workplace. Health and Safety Executive statistics for 2009/10 demonstrated that there were more than ninetyfive thousand reported injuries to workers which induced an absence from work of over three days. Of those injuries 36% had been due to handling, heavy lifting or carrying.

After stress, back pain stands out as the 2nd most common cause of long term illness in the united kingdom. Statistics for 2008/09 show that somewhere around 9.3 million working days were lost entirely to work-related back pain along with other musculoskeletal disorders.

More than a third of most reportable injuries of over 3 days involve manual handling whilst at the workplace. Recent figures show that over a million individuals in the uk say they experience musculoskeletal issues, exacerbated by work and it is estimated that 12. 3 million business days are lost every year through work-related Musculoskeletal disorders.

Back pain is more of an issue in the age bracket 35 to 55, possibly because more and more people in this age group are at work. It's the second most popular reason for sufferers to go and see their General practitioner along with almost 7 million Doctor appointments yearly. Back pain can also be thought to cost the National health service £481m a year with one more £197m coming in other medical expenses not associated with the health service, for example personal consultations and prescription medications.

Manual handling

The definition of manual handling basically means "any transporting or assisting of a load ( for example the lifting, placing down, pushing, yanking, carrying or shifting thereof) by hand or by actual force". Therefore it is circumstances where a person is lifting, moving and / or supporting a load.

As a lot of simple, innocent procedures at the workplace include the moving and handling of goods, it is apparent that back pain potentially affects millions of people in the uk. You'll find risks apparent whether or not the load is an exceptionally heavy one or even a light one, depending largely on whether or not the dangers are taken into account by employer and employee alike. They include whether or not the particular task is a repetitive one, whether it's being carried out in inadequate conditions and whether or not the employee has been given adequate training and advice in how best to lift the goods. All of these things and more should be taken into consideration whenever manual handling is concerned. The risks are seen as especially great within the health-related, agricultural and construction industries because of the number and type of the manual handling operations required in those sectors.

Employer obligations

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 state that employers ought to avoid harmful manual handling procedures as far as is reasonably practicable, should assess any dangerous manual handling procedures that cannot be avoided and should reduce the risk of harm so far as is reasonably practicable.

There is a lawful obligation on the employer concerned to protect the health and safety of their employees. As well as the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, other laws which might well apply when dealing with back pain include the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and also the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The second deals with exposure to Whole Body Vibration, which is also linked to back pain.

In addition to complying with the rules, companies ought to conduct a risk assessment into any probable harm which may be caused to people at work. This type of assessment involves looking for any dangers that are apparent, assessing what individuals may be harmed and how, evaluating the potential risks and seeing whether or not the existing safety measures are sufficient or not. It also requires documenting the findings, notifying employees and reviewing the assessment whenever there are changes to work practices or if there's any sort of accident at the workplace.

Worker responsibilities

There are certain points that a employee ought to be aware of when involved in lifting and carrying at work.

  • Does the load need to be relocated at all? If not necessary then let it sit where it is.
  • Can a machine be utilized to carry the load?
  • Making the weight smaller sized or much easier to lift up.
  • Trying in other ways to reduce down the distance the weight needs to be transported, whilst also trying to minimise the level of twisting or lifting.
  • Ensuring that you have had the proper training with regard to lifting the load.

Safe lifting

Adopting the proper procedures for lifting or having items at your workplace can unquestionably help prevent back pain. Good advice is firstly to consider prior to attempting any heavy lifting. To rush into it greatly raises the likelihood of lifting it in a bad way as well as in wherein will help cause back injuries.

When committed to the lift, try and keep the load close to your waist, keep the back as straight as possible, refrain from twisting or leaning as much as possible, keep your head up and try and distribute the weight evenly.

There are basic concepts associated with manual handling that ought to be observed before performing a manual handling operation.

  • The object should really be light enough to be lifted by one person and it should not move about whilst being lifted.
  • Handling aids should be used, especially if the load is a large or cumbersome one.
  •  Make certain that the route is clear of any sort of obstructions.
  • Ensure that there's a place to safely position the load down.
  • When lifting, remain as near to the load as possible. Spread your feet, bend your knees and try to retain a straight back.
  • Maintain hold of the load, holding it as near to the body as you possibly can.
  • Steer clear of twisting the body by turning your feet in order to position yourself with the load.

Team handling

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 also give guidelines on team handling and recognises that there are some lifting procedures which would be difficult for just one person to handle but which would be possible with 2 or more people. The regulations declare that the portion of the load that every person in the group carries will change as the lifting operation continues and will be of greater concern on uneven ground. "Therefore, the load that a team can handle safely is less than the amount of the loads that the individual team members could possibly cope with when working alone".


For anyone who has suffered an accident at work that has involved lifting or handling heavy goods, the 1st step should be to contact a solicitor. As with every back injury compensation claim, in assessing whether or not they are eligible for damages, it is first necessary to establish if the person they are making the claim against has owed them a duty of care, then if they have breached that duty and therefore the injury the potential claimant received was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of that breach of duty.

Those considering making a claim should remember to keep the maximum amount of information as possible, photographs, medical records, receipts for any injury-related costs, each one is necessary to keep and reproduce when needed.