What You Need to Know About Lifting Injuries in the Workplace

If you have been injured while lifting something at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help cover medical expenses and lost wages.

When it comes to workplace injuries, lifting injuries are some of the most common. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), lifting injuries account for one in every four workplace injuries. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), back injuries from lifting are the second most common type of workplace injury, accounting for nearly 20% of all workplace injuries.

st. louis worker lifting a heavy box

Why Are Lifting Injuries So Common?

There are several reasons. First, many jobs require lifting as part of the job duties. Second, even if lifting is not part of the job description, many employees lift objects as part of their daily work routine. Third, even when employees are properly trained in how to lift objects safely, they may still be injured if they lift an object that is too heavy or they don’t use proper lifting techniques.

Common Types of Lifting Injuries and How They Happen

There are different types of lifting injuries. However, some of the most common include:

Sprains and Strains: These are the most common type of lifting injuries, and they often happen when someone lifts something that is too heavy or tries to lift it in an awkward position. Sprains and strains can occur in any part of the body, but they are most common in the back, neck, and shoulders.

Herniated Discs: These injuries happen when the soft tissue between the vertebrae in your spine is damaged. Herniated discs can be extremely painful and may require surgery to fix.

Muscle Tears: Muscle tears can occur when someone tries to lift something that’s too heavy or uses improper form. Muscle tears are usually very painful and can take weeks or even months to heal properly.

Fractures: Fractures can happen when someone falls while lifting something heavy or tries to lift something that is too bulky and unstable. Fractures typically require medical attention and may require surgery to fix.

Preventing Lifting Injuries in the Workplace

As mandated by OSHA, employers must provide their employees with a safe & healthy workplace. This includes implementing measures that can prevent lifting injuries in the workplace. Some of these include:

Providing Adequate Training

Employees should be properly trained on how to lift objects safely and correctly. This training should include information on proper form, how to identify hazards, and what to do if an injury occurs.

Using Proper Equipment

Employers should provide employees with the proper lifting equipment, such as dollies, hand trucks, and carts. This equipment can help prevent injuries by making lifting and moving heavy objects easier.

Improving Ergonomics

Ergonomic improvements, such as installing conveyor belts or changing the layout of a workstation, can help to prevent lifting injuries.

As an employee, you also have a responsibility to help prevent lifting injuries in the workplace. Some of the things you can do to help prevent these injuries include:

Using proper form: Bend at your knees, not your waist, and keep the object close to your body. Most importantly, avoid twisting your body while lifting.

Asking for help: If an object is too heavy or bulky, ask a coworker for help.

Taking breaks: Allow your muscles to rest by taking breaks often.

Reporting hazards: If you see a hazard, such as a wet floor or an uneven surface, report it to your supervisor immediately.

What to do if You’ve Been Injured While Lifting Something at Work

If you have been injured while lifting something at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can help to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. To increase your chances of receiving these benefits, you should:

  • Report the injury to your supervisor immediately
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible
  • Keep a record of all your medical expenses
  • Keep a record of any lost wages
  • Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case

St. Louis Work Injury Lawyer

At the Law Office of James. M. Hoffman, we pride ourselves on being dedicated advocates for injured workers. For over 30 years, we have helped countless clients receive the benefits they need and deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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Updated: June 14, 2022