Every day, hundreds of people here in Virginia suffer an injury while on the job. According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s 2019 Annual Report, there were a total of 125,612 workplace injuries last year. Nearly four out of every 10 were considered “major” injuries.

While the type and severity of these injuries vary, one area of the body can be particularly problematic: the back.

The prevalence of workplace back injuries

Back injuries stemming from job duties are generally musculoskeletal issues, meaning a “soft-tissue” injury like a sprain, strain or tear, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains. They are often the result of overexertion.

According to the BLS, back injuries account for 38.5% of all musculoskeletal work injuries. Even more troubling? Musculoskeletal injuries that require time off work are almost always tied solely to a back injury.

Some professions at particular risk, according to the BLS’ statistics, include:

  • Nursing assistants
  • Custodial workers
  • Stock clerks and order fillers
  • Maintenance and repair professionals
  • Truck drivers
  • Laborers and “hand material movers”

Receiving the proper compensation

As the figures above demonstrate, back injuries are common in the workplace and they often require time away from the job. This can put workers in a bind. They’re forced to step away in order to recover, but need financial support to provide for themselves and their family.

Workers’ compensation is supposed to be the answer, acting as a safety net of sorts for as long as the ailment lingers. However, it’s not uncommon for workers to be denied benefits or offered insufficient compensation below what should be provided. When this happens, there are legal options that can help a worker secure the benefits they are actually owed.