When we think of typical workplace injuries received by a corrections officer, we often think of injuries received from an assault or some other violence at the hands of an inmate, such as when convicted murderer Robert Blount assaulted a corrections officer on July 8 at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill.

However, corrections officers need to be aware that other serious injuries may be sustained from either an acute incident or repetitive strain from ordinary work tasks.  One type of injury that can be extremely painful and debilitating is a back injury.

Back Injuries at Work

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over a million people suffer back injuries on the job every year, and 20% of all workplace injuries are back injuries.

A worker can injure his or her back in different ways.  There can be an acute incident, such as a slip and fall or a car accident, which immediately causes the back to hurt.  Or, the back can be injured by repetitive movement or use over time, such as lifting, pushing, or pulling, or even sitting improperly.

Understanding Your Back

Your back is made up of many muscles, ligaments, tendons, and the spine.  Your spine runs from the base of your skull to your pelvis and is made up of a number of bones called vertebrae.  The vertebrae encase your spinal cord.  Nerves from the spinal cord go to all parts of the body.  In between the vertebrae are discs that serve as shock absorbers and that allow the back to move fluidly.  The back is very complex and has many moving parts, any one of which is a potential site for injury.

Common Back Injuries

Common back injuries include:

  • Sprains and strains;
  • Bulging, herniated, and slipped discs;
  • Fractured vertebrae;
  • Pinched nerves; and
  • Spinal cord damage.

These types of injuries can cause pain, stiffness, soreness, limitation in range of motion and movement, pain radiating down the legs, weakness, loss of sensation, and numbness.

The best prevention of back pain is maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, proper stretching, and using proper lifting techniques when lifting heavy items.

One way a corrections officer may injure his or her back is by improperly lifting a noncompliant inmate or other object.  Another way a corrections officer may injure his or her back is through repeated improper sitting at work.  And, of course, a corrections officer may injure his or her back as the result of an assault by an inmate.

If You Have Injured Your Back at Work

If you have injured your back at work, you should call the Battiloro Law Group now.  We specifically represent corrections officers in their claims for benefits.  Back injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating.  If you have experienced an injury on the job, particularly if it is a back injury, let the us handle your claim for you.  The Battiloro Law Group will fight for your full benefits to which you are rightly entitled.