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Safety Articles

Article # 10102

Back Facts: Back injuries general

• The back is the body part most frequently injured. (Source: National Safety Council, Accident Facts, 1993.)

• Once injured, the risk of recurrence doubles. After two episodes, a person becomes four times more likely to be re-injured. (Source: Multiple)

• Four out of every five people will experience back pain in their lifetimes. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics)

• There were an estimated 800,000 back injuries in 1992. (Source: National Safety Council, Accident Facts, 1993.)

• Thirty-four percent of all back injuries occur at home. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics)

• Back injuries account for 31 percent of all workplace compensation costs.
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics 1993 figures, the latest year available.) Back injuries account for 31 percent of all workers' compensation claims, and in terms of the number of lost workdays, back injuries are second only to the common cold. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics 1993 figures, the latest year available.) In a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics, 17.4 percent of American workers reported suffering back pain. Of that, 20 percent were blue collar; 18 percent were in the service industry: 18 percent in the farm industry; and 16 percent were white collar. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics)

• In the same study, 76 percent said they suffered pain in the lower back and 24 percent reported upper-middle back pain. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics)

• When asked how did the back pain happen in the study, 7 percent said an accident at work: 24 percent reported cumulative trauma at work; 16 percent said accident/cumulative trauma at work; 12 percent said accident not at work; 8 percent reported cumulative trauma not at work; 4 percent said accident/cumulative trauma not at work; 14 percent disease or illness and 12 percent said other. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics)

• Back injuries are the most common type of disabling injury on the job, according the reports by state labor departments. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)

• Truck driving is the profession with the highest rate of back injuries, according to the Rocky Mountain Occupational Health and Safety Project.

• Back injury claims last longer than any other types of claims, sometimes up to two years. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)

• Approximately 31 million Americans, 14 percent of the population, experience lower back pain.
About 13 million have reduced ability to function because of the pain. (Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance)

Back injuries are growing

• Low back injuries represented 91 percent of all back injury claims. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics 1993 figures, the most recent year available)

• Back problems am another major problem in the office - 90 percent of Americans will suffer from a significant episode of back pain in their lifetimes, with 70 percent of those becoming chronic back pain sufferers. Improper posture and pressure of the spine from sifting are widely recognized as prime causes of back problems. (Source: Multiple)

• The number of work-related back injuries doubled between 1976 and 1992, according to the National Safety Council. Back injuries are expensive.

• In 1986, back injuries cost American businesses an estimated $ 11 billion in treatment and disability. Today it's estimated to be $50 billion. (Source: Occupational Health and Safety Administration)

• In 1992, the average back injury cost $9,000 without surgery and $30,000 to $40 ,000 with surgery. (Source: Multiple)

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, no other health problem affects working-age Americans than low back dysfunction. Medical treatment alone is estimated to cost $18 billion a year.
(Source: U.S. Department ofHea1th and Human Services.)
 
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