30
Aug 2018
By

Returning to Work After a Back Injury

Rhode Island workers' compensationOne of the most important periods when recovering from a back injury occurs when someone first returns to work. Going back too soon, or doing something incorrectly, can result in a recurring injury.

That’s why it’s vital that workers understand when they can safely return to work and when they can resume normal duties.

Learning from EMTs

This topic was a recent point of focus on EMS1, a website devoted to the work of emergency medical technicians. While their advice is specifically worded for EMTs returning to work after a back injury, the article contains principles that can be applied to any physically demanding job. In fact, while these principles are geared toward those recovering from an injury, they can be helpful in preventing injuries in the first place.

Mobility is a crucial issue. The article warns EMTs that “before you can move patients, you must be able to move well yourself.” This is a good guide for any job that includes lifting and moving heavy objects. The first priority of a worker recovering from a back issue is preventing further damage. A worker that is not yet moving normally is not ready to handle the strain associated with his or her job. However, once lifting and carrying are viable options, workers need to keep some practices in mind.

Best Practices

  • Limit Lift Height: The farther an object must be lifted, the greater strain it will put on the body. Workers should avoid ever lifting an object directly from the floor to standing. This may require the use of available tools, or the worker may need to set the object in a new position and reset. Either way, “if your hands are on the floor for a lift, you’ve already lost.”
  • Avoid Bending: The practice of bending forward to grab a heavy object puts strain on the back. And the further forward one bends, the more shearing weight is placed on the spine. The worker’s head and chest should always be up with the back straight when lifting.
  • Stay Strong: The muscles used in lifting also help keep the spine, knees, and other body parts safe and properly aligned. Strengthening these muscles reduces the amount of strain a given lift places on them. This, in turn, reduces the possibility of injury. Exercise key muscles to ensure safe lifting practices.
  • Have Allies: It may be difficult to get the justice a worker needs, especially when that means collecting enough from workers’ compensation to stay out of the workplace until recovery is safely complete. Help and support are invaluable for a worker with an injury.

In the event that you are injured at work, you need an experienced attorney at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl on your side. Contact us today.

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