Latest News

Injury claims for back strains fall


Back strains accounted for one in five serious-injury workers’ compensation claims over the past decade, according to research by Konekt.

Product Manager Nicholas Ward says the number of claims is decreasing and average time lost due to back strains halved between 2000/01 and 2010/11.

The fall in claims is due to safer work environments and practices, better manual handling, training and ergonomic assessments, and better equipment, he told

Pre-employment screening has improved for high-risk jobs.

Workplace health company Konekt analysed more than 113,000 workers’ compensation and non-compensable cases over six years, finding 14% of the population suffers lower back pain.

Lower back pain is the second-greatest contributor of disability in Australia, but employees either delay reporting injuries or ignore them until they are debilitating, extending the time taken to receive treatment and return-to-work services.

Small and medium employers are paying higher rehabilitation costs and achieve a lower return-to-work rate.

Men aged 30-39 have the highest incidence of back injuries, but claims made by women to employers and healthcare professionals grew from 33% to 39% over the past decade.

University of Sydney Medical School Musculoskeletal Division Director Chris Maher says educational programs are needed for employees, employers and clinicians, who often misunderstand back pain. He says it is more common in women than men and there is a strong genetic disposition to getting back pain.