WorkSafeBC statistics: Back strain injuries

WorkSafeBC Statistics 2012 explores data on back strain injuries from the last 30 years to shine a spotlight on an area of injury that affects thousands of B.C. workers each year.
From 2003 to 2012:

  • Between 12,000 and 15,000 workers were affected by back strain injuries each year.
  • About 20 percent of all work days lost were due to back strain injuries — more than any other injury type.
  • About 18 percent of all claim costs were for back strain injuries.

The back strain injury statistics mirror fluctuations in B.C.’s economy, the socio-economic shift towards a service economy, and the growing participation by women in the labour force:

  • The number of back strain injuries increased between 2003 and 2007, declined through 2010 and rebounded in 2011 (while remaining a relatively steady portion of all injuries).
  • In 2012, women accounted for nearly 40 percent of all back strain injury claims — up from 15 percent in 1980.
  • Together, the health care and social assistance subsector, and retail trade accounted for 30 percent of back strain injury claims between 2003 and 2012. This is consistent with the shift provincially away from primary industries and manufacturing to the services-producing sector.

As with all workplace injuries, a better understanding of back strain injuries can contribute to prevention solutions.