Injuries from lifting heavy objects usually take place under a pair of circumstances. First, you may be asked to lift a particularly heavy object that causes an injury – a one-time task. Second, you may regularly lift heavy objects – ongoing work that becomes injurious through wear and tear.
In either case, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the exertion associated with lifting heavy objects “is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace.” OSHA reports slightly more than one-third of all work-related injuries – about 36% - involves shoulder and/or back trauma from heavy lifting.
The agency also notes injuries, which can cause temporary or permanent issues for workers, are not limited to the back or spine. Pulled muscles are a major problem. Other body parts susceptible to injury include wrists, shoulders and elbows.
How workers can protect themselves
OSHA says workers can reduce risk by using the proper equipment, including forklifts, duct lifts, pallet jacks, hand trucks, stands or jigs, and suction devices that serve as temporary handles. The agency also recommends employing ramps or lift gates, and encouraging employers to order supplies and other materials in quantities weighing less than 50 pounds.
Workers can prevent injuries through smart lifting practices, OSHA says, such as:
- Placing materials where they are easier to lift (the “power zone” height, from about mid-thigh to mid-chest);
- Maintaining a straight spine;
- Moving items as close as possible to their body;
- Not twisting when lifting an object;
- Working in teams; and
- Taking regular rest breaks.
Let an attorney do some heavy lifting for you
You could face several issues after sustaining a workplace injury linked to heavy lifting. This includes medical treatment for your injury – doctor appointments, physical therapy, medication, and possibly surgery. You could be out of work for weeks or months, unable to support your family or pay your rising medical bills.
Getting the full amount of workers’ compensation you need for a lifting injury can be a challenging process. The insurance company, in an effort to protect their bottom line, will hide behind their lawyers and their own doctors. They may dispute the extent of your injury or question whether the treatment your doctor recommends is reasonable or necessary. You need an advocate who knows the system to help you fight back.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell, LLC, have been handling cases like yours for decades in Freehold, Shrewsbury and throughout the state. We have secured justice and fair financial compensation for thousands of clients. We are not afraid to take on workers' compensation insurance companies and their attorneys. Let us handle the legalities while you focus on your health. Contact us today for a free consultation.