Workplace injuries linked to heavy lifting
The most physically demanding occupations that require heavy lifting often include (but are not limited to): construction, nursing, warehousing, manufacturing, agriculture, logging, and retail. The physical duties required in these occupations often place a great deal of strain on the body. Injuries linked to heavy lifting can happen suddenly or over a long period of time.
Common workplace injuries linked heavy lifting
Workers who lift heavy equipment and materials are at risk of sustaining:
Herniated disc. The discs in the spine are made up of a gel-like substance and a tough outer layer, providing cushioning between the vertebrae. When the discs become ruptured due to heavy lifting or frequent lifting, the outer layer can rupture. This causes a protrusion which puts pressure on the nerves in the spine. Workers who sustain herniated discs often experience pain, numbness, tingling, and burning in the limbs; muscle weakness; sciatica (when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed and causes pain that radiates down one or both legs); and loss of bowel and bladder control (in extreme cases).
Tendon and ligament sprains. The tendons and ligaments keep our joints intact but can become damaged when a worker lifts something too heavy or the wrong way. Tendons and ligaments can also become worn down over time due to repetitive lifting, resulting in weak and inflamed joints.
Muscle strains and tears. Heavy lifting often puts a lot of strain on the muscles. Heavy lifting can eventually cause muscle spasms and musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. Muscles can also become overstretched or torn from lifting too much weight or lifting incorrectly. This can result in pain, dull aching, and loss of mobility.
Knee injuries. The knees are very sensitive to added weight. Workers who lift heavy objects and twist, turn, walk, or stand for long periods of time are at risk of sustaining knee injuries. When the tendons and ligaments in the knees become worn out or torn, walking or standing can be very painful.
Foot injuries. Foot injuries can happen easily when heavy objects are dropped. This can result in bone fractures, as well as crushed or amputated toes.
Common causes of injuries linked to heavy lifting
Most workplace injuries linked to heavy lifting occur due to:
- Improper loading and unloading of heavy objects. Injuries often occur due to poor posture; improper positioning of objects when lifting; and bending when lifting rather than using leg strength.
- Not enough workers to help. Sometimes lifting heavy objects requires a team effort. Employers should always ensure that there are enough workers available to help with lifting heavy objects rather than placing the strain on a few workers.
- Poor safety training. Employers should always advise workers on the dangers associated with heavy lifting. Proper training should be given to workers to balance speed with safety. In addition, charts promoting good posture and positioning should be made available and visible to workers.
- Hazardous work environments. All working areas should be free of clutter, debris, and slipping hazards. Severe slip and fall accidents can happen easily when someone is lifting and carrying a heavy object.
Contact our Pennsylvania law firm if you were hurt on the job
The Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorneys at Vellner Law, PC have seen how devastating injuries from heavy lifting can be. Your injury could be serious enough to require surgery, pain medication, and months of physical therapy. The bills will add up while you're unable to work and earn a paycheck. Fortunately, you may be able to recover your losses through a workers' compensation claim.
Our legal team can help guide you through the complex process of filing a claim and getting the right medical care. We can also negotiate with your employer's insurance company for a fair financial settlement. Your only focus should be on your recovery. To get started, contact us online and schedule your free legal consultation. We serve clients in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Lehigh Valley.