Few jobs involve more physical effort than working on a construction site. If you are young, construction work has several short-term benefits such as building your muscles, getting a summer tan and bringing in a fair wage. Yet long term, this kind of work can wreak havoc on your body.
If you are fresh out of school or in your early 20s, you might assume that back injuries only happen to older colleagues and are a sign they need to get a desk job. Yet, all the older guys on the site were also young once. They, too, would have once been tempted to lift without using proper technique or lift more than they should. When they get back injuries, it is often due to years of abuse rather than one specific event.
Employers should help you avoid back injuries at work
Employers have a responsibility to provide you with a safe working environment. While you might find some of their rules restrictive, it pays to think long-term and realize they are there to protect you. Here are some things employers should do to reduce the risk you suffer back injury while working in construction:
- Train you in how to lift safely
- Minimize the need to lift heavy items by making use of machinery
- Minimize carrying distance by the careful layout of the worksite
- Ensure adequate staffing to work in pairs or teams to lift
- Schedule regular breaks to allow recovery
- Listen to you and appropriate action if you report back issues
If you feel your back begin to hurt, take it as a warning sign. Continuing without changing anything will likely lead to a long-term back injury, leaving you unable to work/ If you need to claim workers’ compensation benefits to handle a back injury, don’t let your employer (or their insurance company) dissuade you.