I Had A Back Injury At Work From Lifting – Could I Claim?

By Daniel Sisko. Last Updated 8th March 2023. Welcome to our guide on making a back injury at work from lifting claim. In it, we describe different types of injuries caused by manual handling and discuss in which situations you could claim for an injury from lifting at work. We also discuss compensation payouts for lifting accidents that cause manual handling injuries. And, we explain the steps needed to take when lifting heavy objects.

Have you suffered a back injury at work from lifting that you believe could have been avoided if the proper health and safety measures had been in place? Back injuries could be very painful and could lead to you having to take time off work while you are recovering, which may mean you lose out on income, as well as having to cope with your injury.

Claiming For Different Types Of Injuries Caused By Manual Handling

If your employer has been negligent in taking care of your health and safety at work, and you are injured, did you know you could be in a position to make a workplace injury claim against your employer for compensation for your injury itself and any financial harm it has caused you?

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Back injury at work from lifting

This guide offers some useful information regarding making a claim for a back injury from lifting at work. In the sections below, you will find guidance on the responsibilities that an employer has towards staff health and safety, as well as some useful guidance on making a compensation claim against your employer.

If you would like a free, no-obligation eligibility check for your case, we’d be delighted to help you. We could even provide you with a personal injury solicitor from our panel who could help you claim compensation for such a workplace injury.

If you’d like to take advantage of this, please do call us on 0800 073 8801.

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What Is A Back Injury Caused By Lifting At Work?

While back injuries at work could be caused by sitting in the wrong position or performing repetitive movements, a major cause of back injury at work is from lifting. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 19% of non-fatal injuries at work in 2019/20 were caused by handling, lifting or carrying accidents. According to UNISON, 300,000 people a year suffer from back pain because of accidents sustained during manual handling.

Manual handling tasks are not limited to construction and delivery/warehouse environments. Whether you are working in an office and take delivery of supplies, work in a hospital and have to lift patients, or are loading vehicles for a living, you may be asked to perform a task that involves lifting and handling. You should be trained by your employer in proper manual handling techniques, which should help you avoid injuries. Lifting and handling tasks should be risk-assessed before it is undertaken, and where possible, lifting aids should be used.

The HSE has provided a wealth of information on safe manual handling techniques for those who have to perform manual handling tasks at work.

If you sustain a back injury at work, this could cause you severe pain and could mean you may need physiotherapy or other treatments such as pain relief and rest. In more severe cases, you may require more invasive treatment. We take a further look at the types of back injuries from lifting at work you may have suffered in a later section.

[Source: https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/knowledge/health-and-safety/manual-handling/]

What Are the Causes Of Back Injuries From Lifting At Work?

There could be a variety of ways you could suffer a back injury at work from lifting. And any of these could lead to you filing a back injury at work from lifting claim. However, some of the common causes of such an injury could include:

Back Injuries Caused By Using Too Much Force

If you try to move a heavier object than your body can take, then this could cause you to suffer a back strain from lifting. Where possible, with heavy loads, lifting aids should be used, and in accordance with the HSE, each lifting job should be risk assessed to see if it could cause injury, and risks of injury should be minimised as much as could be considered reasonable. You can see an example of what such a risk assessment could look like on the HSE website. Also, you can see whether a risk assessment would be required for a manual handling task in this guidance document, which has been produced by the HSE. If your employer fails to reduce the risks of lifting a heavy load reasonably, and you are injured, you could claim compensation for your workplace injury.

Unsafe Lifting Techniques – Claiming For Inadequate Training

As part of the duty of care they owe you, your employer should ensure that you receive adequate manual handling training if this type of work is part of your job. As part of such training, you should be shown proper lifting techniques. If you do not follow these techniques, then you could potentially sustain injuries from lifting heavy objects.

If you do suffer an injury due to unsafe lifting techniques at work and you were not provided adequate training for this duty, then your employer could be considered negligent, and you could potentially claim.

You can contact our team of advisors about potentially making claims for back injuries at work and if you have evidence that shows your employer acted negligently.

Correct Manual Handling Techniques To Prevent Workplace Back Injuries

According to the HSE, the correct manual handling techniques include:

  • Risk assessment of lifting jobs
  • Avoiding lifting jobs where possible
  • Employing lifting aids where possible
  • Making loads smaller/easier to hold
  • Breaking up larger loads into smaller ones
  • Ensuring carrying distances are reduced where possible
  • Avoiding twisting movements where possible
  • Avoiding the necessity to lift above shoulder height or from the floor where appropriate

Some jobs cannot be avoided or aided with lifting machinery. If they cannot, then the following techniques should be followed:

  1. Plan the lifting job carefully.
  2. Get in a stable position.
  3. Make sure you have a good grip – as close as you can to the body.
  4. Sustain good posture – slightly bend the back, knees, hips rather than stooping or squatting.
  5. Do not flex your back while lifting the load.
  6. Keep your load as close as possible to the waist.
  7. Avoid twisting and leaning where possible.
  8. Keep your head up.
  9. Try to move smoothly.
  10. Put the load down before adjusting its position.

What Responsibilities Does Your Employer Have For Your Health And Safety?

Your employer has a duty of care towards you as an employee to protect your safety and your health as much as could be considered reasonable. If they fail to do so, and you suffer a workplace injury, this could lead to you being entitled to pursue a back injury at work from lifting claim against them for the injury itself and any financial costs associated with it.

Some pieces of legislation lay out your employer’s responsibilities towards you concerning lifting health and safety. These include:

The Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 – This sets out the responsibilities that employers have for employees’ health and safety. It includes risk assessing tasks, ensuring the workplace is as safe as can be considered reasonable, removing hazards where appropriate and providing training where required to ensure you can work safely.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – This piece of legislation concentrates on what responsibilities your employer has towards you in terms of manual handling operations. It includes details of when your employer should perform risk assessments, how they should lower risks, and what training they should provide.

Examples Of Unsafe Lifting Practices Leading To Lifting At Work Injuries

You might be wondering how to prove a back injury at work was caused by employer negligence if you had been trained in manual handling techniques. Training provision may not be enough to absolve an employer of their liability if you suffer a back injury at work from lifting. Risk assessments should also take into account the safety of the work environment. If your employer has given you manual handling training but has forced you to work in a space that was too small to adopt proper lifting techniques, for example, they could still be held liable for a back injury at work from lifting.

In addition to this, they should also ensure that they do not force you to lift more than the basic health and safety guidelines deemed to be safe. In other words, they should not ask you to lift an object weighing more than 25 kgs without lifting equipment or assistance from another worker.

Back Injuries At Work – Example Scenarios

When lifting heavy objects at work, there are certain techniques and safety precautions to take that can reduce the risk of injury. If your employer does not take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of injury, you could potentially claim against them if you come to harm.

Here are some scenarios that may lead to a legitimate claim:

  • Inadequate training – Your employer must train you in an official capacity when it comes to safely performing your role. Unsafe manual handling techniques can lead to the injury of you and others around you.
  • Wet floors/other slip hazards – When carrying a heavy load, a slip and fall could cause serious injuries, especially if it lands on you. All slip hazards must be rectified or marked with a sign if it is reasonable to do so.
  • Lack of rotation – It can be unreasonable for an employer to expect you to lift heavy loads over and over again. There should be a rotation of staff to reduce the risk of injury and damage to the spine.

This is not an exhaustive list. If you’ve been injured due to lifting heavy objects at work, get in touch with our advisors to see if you could make a claim.

Compensation Calculator For A Back Injury At Work

‘I hurt my back lifting at work; how much could I receive in compensation?’ This is one of the most frequent questions that many claimants may have. While a personal injury claims calculator would not be able to give an accurate sum for your compensation payout, and nor could an advisor, we have come up with a solution that could give you a rough idea of how much your injuries could be worth.

In the table below, you will see figures that we have collected from the Judicial College Guidelines. This publication, updated yearly, offers guideline payout amounts for various injuries. However, we should also mention that your back injury at work from lifting would have to be assessed by an independent doctor to collate evidence relating to your injury, your medical condition and your prognosis. Therefore, the amounts below would only be approximations of how much you could receive for your back injury at work from lifting claim.

Injury Notes Compensation Bracket (Guideline)
Severe Back Injuries Where there is severe damage to the spinal cord of the injured party, as well as the nerve roots. This could lead to very serious consequences, which would not usually be associated with a back injury. Incomplete paralysis could be present, as well as significant function impairment of the bowels, bladder and sexual organs. £91,090 to £160,980
Severe Back Injuries Cases outside the usual bracket for orthopaedic back injuries, which could include damage to the nerve roots, where there is sensation loss, mobility impairment, unsightly scars or bowel and bladder function impairment, for example. £74,160 to £88,430
Severe Back Injuries Where there are fractures or lesions of discs/vertebral bodies, or where there are severe injuries to the soft tissues where disabilities could include agility impairment, pain, change of personality, impaired sexual function, or even the risk of descending into unemployability or alcoholism. There would also be a risk of developing arthritis. £38,780 to £69,730
Moderate Back Injuries Where residual disabilities are less severe than above. This bracket could cover a number of different types of injuries such as crush/compression fractures to the vertebrae (lumbar)which cause significant risk of osteoarthritis and constant discomfort/pain. Another example could include a case where there is traumatic spondylolisthesis where the injured party suffers from continuous pain and may need spinal fusion. Prolapsed intervertebral discs that require surgical treatment could also be included here. £27,760 to £38,780
Moderate Back Injuries Frequently, injuries to the back could include those in this bracket. Disturbance of muscles and ligaments leading to backache could be included here, as well as those injuries where prolapsed discs lead to laminectomy being required, or causing repeated relapse of the injury. £12,510 to £27,760
Minor Back Injuries Less serious sprains, disc prolapses and strains as well as fractures and soft tissue injuries that do not require surgery. The severity of the initial injury would be assessed as well as the effect on the injured party’s ability to work and requirement for further treatment, along with other factors. Up to £7,890

If your injury is not included above, or you’re unsure as to which category it could fall into, we’d be happy to give you some assistance with this, so feel free to get in touch.

Special Damages Which May Be Claimed For Different Types Of Injuries Caused By Manual Handling

The above section provides information on what kind of general damages you could claim if you have sustained an injury, and your employer could be held liable. These are damages for the loss of amenity, suffering, and pain caused by your injuries. However, there are other damages you could claim for, which are known as special damages. These are designed to compensate you for the financial harm that the injury has caused you. Special damages could include, but are not limited to:

Care costs

If your back injury has meant you’ve needed help at home with washing/dressing and other daily tasks you would normally have been able to do alone, care costs could be included as part of your claim.

Loss of earnings

If your back injury from lifting at work has led to you having to stay away from work while you recover, you could have lost out on some of your income. Back pain and work absence often go hand in hand, particularly if your job involves lifting regularly. If this is the case, you could include loss of earnings as part of your back injury claim. Should your injury have been so severe that you could not return to work at all, future loss of earnings could also be added to your claim.

Medical/travel costs

Have you incurred prescription costs, parking fees from hospital appointments, public transport fares from seeing your lawyer or other medical or travel costs relating to your injuries? If you have, these could also be included within personal injury claims.

It is absolutely imperative, however, that you can prove these financial costs and losses. Therefore, it would be wise to put receipts, payslips and bank statements relating to these expenses safely. If you cannot provide proof of costs to your lawyer, you may not be able to include them within your back injury at work from lifting claim.

No Win No Fee Claims For A Back Injury At Work From Lifting

If you would like some assistance with a back injury claim from an experienced lawyer, you may be under the assumption that you would have to pay them a retainer to begin working on your claim. However, with lawyers that work on a No Win No Fee basis, you would not have to pay anything upfront or during the process of your claim.

Instead, you would be required to sign a document called a Conditional Fee Agreement, which would promise to pay your lawyer a small percentage (legally capped) upon successful completion of your claim. You would only have to pay this success fee if your solicitor could negotiate a compensation settlement for you. If they did not manage to get you any compensation, you wouldn’t have to pay these fees.

We are aware that you might have further questions about claiming in this manner. We’d be happy to answer any concerns if you get in touch with our team.

Why Choose Us To Help You With A Claim For An Injury From Lifting At Work?

Getting some help from a personal injury lawyer could be beneficial when it comes to making a personal injury claim of this type. A solicitor could help put together a legal case for the liable party to answer and fight for the compensation your case deserves. They could also advise you on any offers for settlement that you may receive. You may be wondering whether to accept the first offer of compensation to make the process easier. Still, an experienced lawyer may advise you that an offer would not be appropriate for the type and severity of injuries you’ve sustained. They could then fight for a higher settlement on your behalf.

Finding a lawyer for different types of injuries caused by manual handling?

Finding such a lawyer could be a stressful process. After all, you may not know where to begin looking or how to find a lawyer that will work to a No Win No Fee agreement. We could help you with this. Not only do our team have the knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have about claiming a back injury from lifting at work, but they could also assess your eligibility to claim for free. If we feel that you could have a valid claim, we could then connect you with a lawyer with the capabilities to fight your claim for you.

We believe our service is a great option for claimants, as it allows them to benefit from free actionable advice and guidance on claiming a back injury at work from lifting. Our advice and eligibility assessment does not come with any obligation for you to use our service either. We want to help you with your back injury at work from lifting claim.

Evidence to support a back injury at work from lifting claim

You might think that claiming injury at work compensation will be tricky in respect of back injuries caused by lifting. In a lot of cases, you may be right. That’s why we suggest letting our specialist solicitors work for you. If your case is accepted, your solicitor will represent you throughout your claim and provide evidence to try and ensure you’re compensated correctly. You could help with this by taking action to secure evidence.

Collecting evidence

To do this you could:

  • Photograph the cause of the accident. For example, if you were lifting heavy weights from above shoulder height, take a picture of the shelving to show this.
  • Report the back injury to your employer.  In an accident at work claim, report forms can go a long way to confirming that the accident took place, where it happened and what injuries were reported at the time.
  • Keep copies of any emails or text messages you sent to your employer about your concerns. For instance, messages showing that you requested training, lifting devices or more rest breaks could be helpful.
  • Get medical treatment. Medical records could be used to help show the extent of your back injuries and the length of treatment required.
  • Get details of any colleagues who could provide a witness statement detailing working conditions.

We will happily review any evidence you have that could help in a back injury at work from lifting claim. Therefore, please get in touch when you are ready to begin your claim.

Start Your Back Injury At Work Claim

If you are ready to make a claim or have questions about your eligibility or the claims process, why not get in touch with the Accident Claims UK team on 0800 073 8801. If you’d prefer to let us contact you, you could fill out the contact form instead or email office@accidentclaims.co.uk. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to use our live chat service, you could chat with us right away. However you’d prefer to get in touch, our advisors are ready to help you.

Essential References To Types Of Injuries Caused By Manual Handling

Thank you for reading our guide on making a back injury at work from lifting claim. Now you’ll know about different types of injuries caused by manual handling. Plus, you’ll understand in which situations you could claim for an injury from lifting at work.