Heavy Lifting Injuries
Heavy lifting activities at work are the number one cause of back, neck, and shoulder injuries. An estimated 600,000 workers are injured from lifting heavy objects at work each year. Workers’ compensation benefits help injured workers with compensation for medical bills and lost wages.
Types of Heavy Lifting Injuries
Back, neck, and shoulder injuries can be debilitating, often causing acute pain and limited movement. Many workers suffer these types of injuries when their job duties require them to lift heavy objects. The most common heavy lifting injuries include:
- Back injuries, including sprains, herniated discs, and fractured vertebrate
- Muscle pulls and straining in the lower back
- Neck strains, sprains, and compressed nerves
- Fractured clavicles and rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder area
- Wrist and arm injuries
- Spinal injuries, such as compressed nerves and dislocated spinal discs
These types of injuries can limit the productivity of workers, often preventing them from working until the injuries heal. Costly medical treatments can involve orthopedic specialists, ongoing physical therapy, prescription medications, and in some cases, corrective surgery. Lost wages, combined with the cost of medical treatment, can quickly devastate a family’s finances.
Causes of Heavy Lifting Injuries
Employers have a legal responsibility to provide their workers with an environment that is free from unnecessary hazards and to provide employees with proper safety training and personal protective equipment. When workers are not properly trained on how to lift heavy objects, injuries occur. The most common causes of heavy lifting injuries include:
- Reaching while lifting
- Poor posture when lifting
- Lack of physical strength and conditioning
- Twisting while lifting
- Bending over from the waist to lift objects
- Worker fatigue
- Poor footing caused by wet floors and uneven surfaces
- Lifting objects that exceed the capacity of the worker’s physical strength
- Failure to utilize leg strength when lifting objects
Preventing Heavy Lifting Injuries
Heavy lifting injuries cause pain and suffering, but many of these injuries can be prevented. Practices include:
- Lifting with your legs and core muscles
- Using forklifts and hand trucks to move heavy objects
- Utilizing ramps and lift gates when available
- Raising heavy objects to the mid-chest area to utilize the strength and muscles in these areas of the body
- Keeping the spine straight while lifting
- Bending at the knees
- Breaking heavy loads into smaller units to reduce overall weight
- Utilizing personal protection equipment, such as back and waist support belts when available
- Practicing good posture so that the spine is aligned properly while lifting
- Avoiding twisting or over-extending while lifting
- Holding objects close to the body and avoiding carrying heavy objects over one shoulder or under the arm
- Using a team approach and taking regular rest breaks when repetitive lifting is required
- Distributing weight evenly to balance a heavy load
What to Do If You Suffer a Heavy Lifting Injury at Work
Even the most careful and safety conscious worker can suffer a heavy lifting injury on the job. It is imperative that the injury is reported to the employer or immediate supervisor as soon as possible. There are strict deadlines and procedures required for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Employers should have company procedures for such matters readily available to their employees.
Medical records, diagnostic tests, prescription medications, physical therapy, and surgeries relating to the heavy lifting injury need to be documented for evidence. Some employers require injured workers to utilize company-designated doctors and medical facilities. It is very important to know what these requirements are before seeking or continuing treatment. A qualified and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that injured victims claim the maximum amount of compensation and benefits they are entitled to receive.
Consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that deadlines are met, appropriate medical evidence is presented, and that workers receive the time off from work and the compensation they need to fully recover.
South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Help Injured Workers Claim the Benefits They Deserve
If you have been injured at work, the South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP can help. We will review your case and fight for the compensation your rightfully deserve. Call us at 856-761-3773 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including the City of Camden.