Lifting injuries are common, especially in workplaces where physical labor is part of the job. These injuries range from minor strains to more serious conditions requiring medical attention and time off work. If you’ve suffered a work-related lifting injury and need compensation, consult a skilled workplace accident lawyer to protect your rights and navigate legal complexities.
What are Lifting Injuries?
Lifting injuries happen when you strain or hurt yourself while lifting something. This might be a box at work, heavy equipment, or any other item that requires physical effort to move.
These injuries often affect the back, neck, shoulders, and knees. The severity of the injury can vary, from something that gets better in a few days to an injury that needs long-term treatment.
Common Causes of Lifting Injuries
One of the main causes of lifting injuries is not lifting things the right way. For example, bending from your back instead of your knees when picking up something heavy puts a lot of strain on your back.
Your back is not meant to handle too much weight in that position. The right way to lift is by bending your knees and keeping your back straight so your legs do the lifting.
Another reason for lifting injuries is handling items that are too heavy. Sometimes, the things you need to lift at work can be heavier than you can safely handle.
Trying to lift something too heavy for you can strain your body, especially your back, shoulders, and arms. This is why workplaces need to limit how much weight you should lift and provide equipment to help with lifting heavier items.
Improper training can also lead to injuries. You’re more likely to suffer injuries if you don’t know the correct way to lift things.
Proper training should include how to lift safely, how to use any lifting equipment, and what to do if something is too heavy to lift on your own. Employers need to make sure their employees are trained in these areas to reduce the risk of injuries.
Lifting in awkward positions is another cause of injuries. You might have to lift something in a tight space or from a difficult angle. This puts your body in unusual positions, which can lead to injuries. Always try to position yourself in a way that you’re stable and not straining when you lift.
Repeating the same lifting motions can also cause injuries. This is known as a repetitive strain injury. Doing the same motion over and over, like lifting, can cause wear and tear on your body. This is especially true if you’re lifting heavy items. Taking breaks, changing your motions, and not doing the same lifting action for too long is important.
Muscle strains occur when muscles get stretched beyond their normal capacity. Imagine your muscles like rubber bands. Just as a rubber band can lose shape and even snap if stretched too much, muscles can also get damaged similarly. This usually happens when you lift something too heavy or incorrectly or even move suddenly or awkwardly.
When you strain a muscle, you might feel a sudden sharp pain, swelling, or difficulty moving the affected part of your body. The severity of a muscle strain can vary.
In mild cases, you might just feel a bit of discomfort and need some rest. But in more severe cases, the muscle can be seriously damaged, needing medical attention and a longer time to heal.
These strains often happen in the back, neck, and shoulders because these areas bear a lot of the stress when lifting. But they can also occur in other parts of the body, like the arms and legs.
The back is particularly vulnerable because many people tend to lift with their backs instead of using their legs, which is the safer way to lift.
Muscle strains can happen to anyone, regardless of their physical strength. Even if you’re used to lifting heavy things, you can still get injured if you lift something the wrong way or lift something too heavy for you.
If you experience a muscle strain, it’s important to stop what you’re doing and rest the injured muscle. Applying ice can help reduce swelling, and over-the-counter pain relief can help with discomfort.
For more serious strains, see a doctor. They might recommend physical therapy to heal your muscles and prevent future injuries.
In the workplace, preventing muscle strains involves proper training on lifting safely, using equipment to help with heavy lifting, and not trying to lift something too heavy for one person. Employers must ensure their workers know how to lift safely and provide the right equipment and assistance when needed.
Spinal injuries are among the more severe types of injuries that can occur from lifting. These injuries involve damage to the spine or the discs, which cushion the bones in the spine.
Understanding spinal injuries, their impact, and the importance of proper handling and prevention is important, especially in workplaces where lifting is a common task.
When someone experiences a spinal injury from lifting, it usually happens because the spine is under too much stress. This can occur when lifting heavy objects, lifting without proper technique, or overexerting without proper support.
The spine is a critical part of the body, providing support and enabling movement, so any injury to this area can be particularly problematic.
Spinal injuries can range from mild to very severe. In milder cases, a person might experience back pain or a stiffness in the back. These symptoms might go away with rest and proper care.
However, in more severe cases, spinal injuries can lead to significant pain, difficulty moving, and even long-term disability. In some extreme cases, damage to the spine can result in paralysis.
One of the most common types of spinal injuries from lifting is a herniated disc. This happens when the outer part of the disc, which is usually quite tough, gets torn, and the softer inner material bulges out. This bulging can press on nerves in the spine, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms or legs, depending on where the damaged disc is located.
It’s important to take spinal injuries seriously. If you or someone else has a back injury and is experiencing severe pain, numbness, or difficulty moving, it’s time to seek medical attention immediately.
A doctor can assess the injury and recommend the best course of action, which might include rest, medication, physical therapy, or, in some cases, surgery.
Preventing spinal injuries in the workplace involves a few key steps. Proper training on how to lift safely is key. This includes using the legs to lift, rather than the back, and avoiding twisting or turning while lifting.
Use lifting aids, like forklifts or dollies, for very heavy items. Employers should set up the work environment to minimize the risk of lifting injuries, including providing proper lifting equipment and encouraging workers to ask for help with heavy or awkward items.
Joint injuries are another type of injury that can happen when lifting, often involving the knees, shoulders, and elbows. These parts of the body are crucial for movement, so injuries to them can be quite troublesome and impact daily activities.
When we talk about joint injuries from lifting, we’re referring to the damage that occurs to these parts of the body when they’re under stress. For example, lifting heavy items can put a lot of strain on the knees, especially if you’re not lifting correctly.
The knees can handle weight, but they have their limits. If you squat to lift something heavy and your knees bear too much of the load, it can lead to injuries like strains or even more serious issues like a torn ligament.
Shoulders are also at risk during lifting, particularly if you lift items above your head or reach out for something. The shoulder is a complex joint with a wide range of motion, and it’s easy to overextend or strain it.
Common shoulder injuries from lifting include rotator cuff injuries, which involve the muscles and tendons around the shoulder, and dislocations, where the shoulder comes out of its socket.
Elbows can suffer from lifting heavy items, too. The elbow joint helps with lifting movements, and overloading it can cause strains or sprains. Repeated lifting can also lead to conditions like tendonitis, where the tendons around the elbow become inflamed.
It’s important to handle joint injuries carefully. They can range from mild, where rest and over-the-counter pain relief might be enough, to severe, where medical treatment and even surgery might be necessary.
If you injure a joint, it’s a good idea to stop what you’re doing and apply ice to the area to reduce swelling. If the pain is severe, doesn’t improve, or if you can’t move the joint, it’s important to see a doctor.
Preventing joint injuries involves using the right techniques when lifting. This includes keeping items close to your body, using your legs rather than your back to lift, and avoiding twisting or awkward movements. You must know your limits and not try to lift something too heavy for you.
Employers can help by providing training on safe lifting techniques and offering equipment like lifting belts or braces that can help support your joints.
The Effects of Lifting Injuries
Lifting injuries can have a big impact on your life. They can cause pain and discomfort, making it hard to do everyday activities. If you cannot work, you might lose income. In severe cases, these injuries can lead to long-term health problems that might need ongoing treatment.
Workers’ Rights and Lifting Injuries
If you suffered an injury while lifting something at work, knowing your rights is important. Employers must have workers’ compensation insurance under the law, and this insurance should cover your medical expenses and a portion of lost income if your injury keeps you out of work.
Unfortunately, many workers with lifting injuries run into challenges getting the workers’ compensation benefits they need and deserve under the law. Never hesitate to speak with a workers’ comp attorney if you are struggling with the process.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Lifting Injuries
Workers’ compensation for a lifting injury should cover medical bills and a substantial percentage of lost income if you can’t work. If you suffer a disabling back injury, you might lose work for some time, might have to switch to a lower-paying position, or might have to leave the workforce altogether.
Your benefits will depend on the extent of your treatment needs, the time out of work, and how your injury affects your ability to work in the future.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Lifting injuries are a significant issue, especially in workplaces where physical tasks are common. Understanding the causes, types, and effects of these injuries is important. If you suffered an injury, knowing your rights and getting the right legal help can make a big difference.
Employers are responsible for supporting injured workers financially, and you should not have to fight for your rightful benefits. If you suffer a lifting injury, speaking to a workers’ comp lawyer about your legal options is the first step in seeking the support and compensation you deserve.
Consultations with workers’ compensation law firms are free, so you have nothing to lose by learning about your options and how an attorney can benefit your situation.