It doesn’t matter if you are only occasionally required to lift a heavy object or if lifting is a routine part of the job. It’s very important to understand the risks associated with lifting on the job and to take steps to prevent injury. Although lifting injuries are most common among people who lift unfamiliar objects, such as boxes at work, they can also result from carelessness or lack of knowledge about proper lifting techniques.
NIOSH Lifting Formula
- How far out in front of the body a load will be held.
- The height of the load must be shifted to and from.
- The height of the object being lifted.
- The amount of expected torso twisting.
- How often the lifting will occur.
Using this formula, NOISH has determined that is a perfect scenario, a worker should be able to safely lift 51 pounds without significant injury. That being said, the reality is that the average employee is almost never in the perfect situation.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), overexertion from lifting is a leading cause of back and shoulder injuries, injuries that account for more than 35% of all missed time from work. This is why it’s so important for employers to not only teach employees proper lifting techniques but to also provide tools to help them lift.
Proper Techniques For Lifting
When lifting any object, consider the following:
- Plan the lift. Know what you will be lifting, test the weight, and know where the object is being moved to and from.
- Use any available handholds.
- Use the power zone to lift. Bend at the knees and not the waist.
Whenever possible take breaks, rotate tasks, and use tools and machinery to help move heavy objects. Otherwise, it’s likely just a matter of time before an injury occurs.
The Most Common Lifting Injuries
More than one million workers each year suffer from workplace injuries caused by heavy lifting. Lifting injuries at work can range from relatively minor to extremely serious. All employees need to understand the risks associated with lifting heavy objects and take steps in order to prevent injuries from happening on the job.
When lifting heavy objects at work, you’re putting a lot of stress and strain on your muscles as well as joints in your body. As a result of this type of physical activity, the following are some of the most common injuries that can occur while lifting any heavy object:
Also known as a bulged, ruptured, or slipped disc, this injury occurs most frequently in the low back. The disc is the part of the spine that provides cushioning between vertebrae. When a portion of the disc is pushed into the spinal canal, this is referred to as a herniation.
Symptoms can include tingling, burning, numbness, or pain that feels like an electric shock. The pain can radiate into other parts of the body.
While there are non-surgical options many patients require surgery to stop the pain.
IT Band Syndrome
When a patient is diagnosed with IT Band Syndrome they experience pain from the hip bone to the knee. Although surgery isn’t often an option, it can take a lot of time and physical therapy to find relief from the pain.
Rotator Cuff or SLAP Tears
The rotator cuffs and Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior are located in the shoulder. A tear can result in pain that prevents a patient from lifting their arm higher than their shoulder and may limit the range of motion. Surgery is usually required depending on the severity of the tear.
Abdominal muscle strains, hamstring pulls, and quadriceps injuries are common in patients who have been injured from lifting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 250,000 back injury claims filed in 2008 alone.
In most cases, tennis elbow is caused by chronic over gripping and can cause pain in the elbow and forearm.
The patellar kneecap sits just below the patella and can cause chronic pain in the knee. Physical therapy, medication, and even surgery may be required.
Reasons To Avoid Heavy Lifting At Work
If you’re working long hours on different projects or carrying heavy tools to be used by people around the job site, it’s important to understand how you can avoid dangerous work conditions that could lead to an injury. Here are just a few reasons why it’s beneficial for both employees and employers to avoid heavy lifting at work:
Heavy objects can cause serious physical damage to muscles and tissue if you drop or fall while carrying them.
Heavy lifting can lead to serious injury if you have an existing medical condition, such as chronic back pain, that could cause further damage.
Even if someone is strong enough to lift heavy objects they may still hurt themselves due to poor body mechanics or bad posture. Without being monitored by a supervisor it’s easy for employees to get into unsafe positions when lifting heavy tools or machinery that are used around the job site.
This being said, your line of work may not allow you to avoid lifting. In such a case, it’s important to understand your rights if you suffer a lifting injury at work.
Understanding Your Rights When It Comes To Lifting Injuries At Work
If you have been injured while lifting at work, it’s important to know your rights. Employees should always be aware of their rights in the workplace and know what recourse they have available in order to make sure safety standards are upheld within company guidelines.
You may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim in order to receive benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if the injury was caused by the negligence of your employer.
Be sure to follow the guidelines of your company when it comes to lifting heavy equipment and tools, and make sure you get regular breaks if you’re performing any strenuous physical activity throughout the course of your day. It is always best for employees and employers to take preventative measures before a serious accident or injury occurs in order for all involved parties to remain safe at work.
If you have been injured while lifting at work, be sure that you understand what type of compensation may be available to you.
You May Want To Consult An Attorney After Being Diagnosed With A Lifting Injury
If you were injured while lifting at work, it may be time to read about how to choose the best workers’ compensation lawyer. Even the smallest mistake on a claim form can result in a denial, which is why it’s important to reach out for legal assistance as quickly as possible.
If you’ve been hurt while lifting at work, be sure to document everything. Keep a record of how the injury occurred and make sure to get copies of any paperwork related to your diagnosis or treatment for the injury. It’s also helpful to get statements from anyone who witnessed what happened. Make sure that you understand why it is important for employees and employers to avoid heavy lifting at work, in order to keep everyone safe on the job site.
You should consult with a personal injury attorney if you have been injured while lifting at work. Proving negligence on the part of your employer can be difficult, so it’s important to hire a qualified lawyer in order to have your case evaluated and receive advice regarding what steps you can take in order to protect your rights.