As a coal miner, you know your job carries a higher-than-average risk. Yet, when you think about hazards, you probably consider the big events that could happen. Things like a roof collapsing or an explosion going wrong.
Like any job, mining also has its fair share of injuries that are not fatal or catastrophic yet can still affect you for years to come. Some of the most common are back injuries. They can happen regardless of the role you fulfill. They can affect you if you spend the day driving machinery, crouched down in a narrow tunnel, or supervising from the office computer.
What should you do if you suffer back pain?
Pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop what you are doing. Without pain, you would carry on unawares and worsen the injury. Yet, most people ignore the first signs of pain. They use painkillers to hide the annoying symptoms so that they can carry on working.
If your back starts to feel sore, you should tell a supervisor. Remember, employers have a duty to protect their employee’s health. If they do not take you seriously and tell you to get back to work, they contribute to your injury.
Sometimes rest will do the trick, and sometimes you need medical attention or therapy. Take the opportunity to examine your posture. Employers should provide training on lifting without harming your back, yet it is easy to become slack about technique and lapse back into poor posture or habits. Companies should also look for ways to reduce the physical stress placed on workers by using machinery for heavy tasks where possible.
Coal mining is hard work. Yet, if your job takes too much of a toll on your back, it may leave you unable to work. Claiming workers’ compensation benefits may be the only option left.