After a serious workplace accident, it appears that a worker is suffering from a spinal injury. Maybe it was a workplace fall or an accident with heavy machinery. No matter how it happened, this is a very significant injury and their future could depend on how people around them react.

Here are five key tips to keep in mind:

  1. First, those offering first aid should call 911 as soon as possible. Minutes matter. Seconds may matter.
  2. Next, the goal should be helping the person stay still so that they don’t make things worse. Their neck and head should be stabilized, perhaps with heavy towels.
  3. In some cases, responders may feel that they need to use CPR. They can, but they should modify the technique to make sure that they don’t tilt or move the person’s head.
  4. If that worker had a helmet on at the time of the accident, it should stay on. Do not take it off, as doing so can only make things worse. Let emergency crews decide whether to remove it when they arrive.
  5. In some cases, it’s necessary to roll the injured person over, perhaps because of bleeding or choking. This can be done, but not by one person. At least two people need to work together so that they can roll the injured party and keep their back, neck and head aligned while they do it.

Spinal injuries can be fatal and can leave people with permanent disabilities even when they survive. It is very important for workers and their families to understand what this means for their future and what legal rights they have to compensation.