When you tell your family you have a construction job on an overseas military base, what images flash through their mind? Do they worry you might be blown up, or come under enemy fire?

If you get injured or die working in construction on a defense base, it is likely to be for far more mundane reasons. Working in construction overseas is unlikely to be any more dangerous than building the shopping mall back home.

Back injuries make up a quarter of all construction injuries. They cause one in a hundred workers to need time off work — seven days on average. Yet, you might not give much thought to it. Falling from height has apparent consequences: You could die, so you take precautions to avoid it, such as wearing a harness and clip into safety lines. Injuring your back is less tangible.

Back injuries usually build up little by little. You have likely injured your back hundreds or even thousands of times. Yet, as each injury is tiny, you do not treat it as an injury. You say things such as my back is tired, I tweaked my back, or hurt my back. You say it will be fine in the morning, or that you just need to take it easy for the rest of the day. 

Back injuries need to be taken seriously — if not, they can build up over time. They can affect every single minute of your life for as long as you live. If you suffer a back injury while working in construction on a defense base, seek legal advice. You may be able to claim under the Defense Base Act.