Find out: Is Your Job Putting Your Spine at Risk?

It has been clinically studied over time that many occupations place workers are at a high risk in their workplaces for back injuries. You might get really stunned and surprised to learn how extensive can this list be. If you have been one of them who have been suffering a work-related back or neck injury, you should also be knowing by now the cost is measured by more than just lost wages.

The impact of neck and back injuries on employers, employees and even to the extent of the national economy are staggering.

According to a report published by the Indian Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 there were approximately 40 Lac private industry cases of non-fatal occupational illnesses and injuries. Out of these cases 60% of the people either lost time from their work or got transferred to another different job or more to say, restricted their work activities. Granted that may be all among these 40 Lac cases, may not have been spine- related, nevertheless in an earlier report the Bureau revealed some 9 Lac cases which were related to neck and back injuries.

Even information received from WHOILO (World Health Organization’s International Labor Office) reveals that this problem is on the rise. Musculoskeletal diseases has been ascertained as one of the most common occupational hazards by World Health Organization’s International Labor Office, which comprises of 286 million non-fatal workplace related incidents, in which the involved employees missed at least 3 working days.

World Health Organization’s International Labor Office has also perceived a workforce change in the next 15 years from today, which will include younger (between the age of 15 to 24) and older workers (age beyond 60 years). This statistic is indeed sad as both these age groups are susceptible to higher incidents of work and job related accidents than others.

Risky Business For Some Employees

To assimilate the names of risky occupations, occupational health and safety professionals analyze several factors, including work environment and work requirements. Forceful and lifting movements, heavy physical labor, awkward work posture, bending and twisting, static work postures (sitting, standing) and whole body vibration compound the risk to workers.

Here are two occupations, those that lead the list of jobs that places employees at higher risk of neck and back injury- nursing home and construction workers, which even includes nurses. Surprising it has been found that both the workers in these two settings have a common tendency of underreporting work related injuries. Even worse, some of the workers in these two occupational settings often fear that they will lose their job and don’t find time to take time off.

Nurses and Nursing Home Workers: It has been reported both by the Indian Bureau of Labor Statistics and WHOILO that more than 52 percent of nursing home employees suffer from back injuries and neck pain, out of which 80 percent of this injury happens from moving patients. Transferring patients between their beds, toilet and bathtub requires carrying, holding, lifting, pushing, pulling and turning which results into this occupational malady.

Construction Workers: Employees who all works at construction sites spend much of their working hours repeatedly bending, carrying, lifting, tugging and pulling on things. This repetitive movement leads to overuse injuries and among them back pain is most common of all. According to a report submitted by the Indian Bureau of Labor Statistics 30, percent of construction workers have sprain on their neck or back. Moreover, as construction workers are often subjected to climbing ladders or working on scaffolds, they run the risk of falling and so also are prone to life threating spinal injuries.

Workers in Warehouses: Being employed in warehouse often entails lifting movements that are forceful in nature or bending, carrying, twisting the body into awkward positions. Truck drivers and operators of heavy industrial vehicles have to undergo whole body vibration. Prolonged exposure to which causes soreness and backaches that often leads to lost time.

Surgeons and Dentists: Both of these professions calls for prolonged stooping, standing, bending and positioning the body in awkward ways. These works are so much mentally intensifying jobs that it may temporarily divert the doctor’s attention from their body positioning and postures that can result into back or neck pain.

Other AT RISK professions are:

  • Landscapers and Gardeners
  • Store Checkout Personnel
  • Bakers
  • Airline crew (baggage handlers and pilots)
  • Bus and cab drivers
  • Carpenters, electricians, plumbers
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Janitors
  • Office personnel (e.g. telemarketers, computer operators)
  • Firefighters and police
  • Mechanics

Solution:

You may not be able to change your occupation, but nevertheless you can practice yoga and basic neck and waistline training exercises that can prevent your neck and back pains.

As it says, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.