Injured your back from lifting? You’re not alone.
Thousands of workers are hurt on the job in the United States each year. One of the biggest culprits? Overexertion in lifting or lowering. While improper lifting can be harmful in more ways than one, back injuries are a frequent consequence. If you’ve developed back pain from a lifting accident at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Injuries Caused by Improper Lifting
Improper lifting is so prevalent most people do not recognize they are doing it. Simple mistakes can have significant ramifications.
To illustrate, there were 136,190 reported cases of workers sustaining injuries to the back in 2019.
Injuring your back from improper lifting is common, but other harm can occur too. For example, individuals may experience muscle strains, ligament sprains, herniated discs, and abdominal hernias.
- Muscle strains & ligament sprains – Isolated improper lifting incidents cause acute strains and sprains, whereas overuse and repetitive movements in the muscles and tendons cause chronic strains and sprains.
- Herniated discs – Vertebral discs are soft, jelly-like substances that sit between each spinal bone. The purpose of vertebral disks is to absorb compression and movement forces place on the back. A herniation happens when a disk slips out of place or ruptures because of a change in fluid pressure within the abdomen during improper lifting.
- Abdominal hernias – Abdominal hernias occur when the contents of a body cavity bulge out of an area where normally contained. They occur most often in portions of the intestines. Improper lifting techniques can contribute to the development of hernias.
Causes of Lifting Injuries & Remedies
There were 86,740 cases of overexertion in lifting or lowering in 2019.
Thus, it is clear to see improper lifting incidents happen often on the job.
Certain factors increase the risk of injury while lifting:
- Heavy objects – Lifting items in excess of 50 pounds increases the risk of harm. Use forklifts and ramps to reduce opportunities for injury. To lift loads of 50 pounds or more without machinery, use 2 or more people.
- Awkward positions – Twisting or bending while lifting can injure the back. This is because such movement forces the back to support the weight of the upper body along with the weight of whatever object is being lifted. This strains the back even when lifting small items. To prevent back strain, move objects close to your body, bend down using your legs, and lift the item from this low position via the power of your legs.
- High-frequency or long-duration lifts – Some jobs require a worker to hold an item for long durations. High-frequency or long-duration lifts, no matter the size or weight of the object being lifted, increase the risk of back and shoulder injuries. For example, holding items for a long time starves muscles of the nutrients they need. Likewise, repeated exertion quickly fatigues muscles. Employees should take frequent breaks or vary their tasks while performing this work to decrease the potential for harm.
- Inadequate handholds – Items with inadequate handholds are difficult to lift and easy to drop. Whenever there is an opportunity to, employees should utilize handholds like handles, slots, or holes. Employers can work with suppliers to package goods in easy-to-lift loads with adequate handholds.
- Environmental factors – Cold weather can decrease muscle flexibility causing muscle pulls and hot weather can cause dehydration and fatigue. During cold weather, workers should bundle up and during warm weather, workers should maintain their hydration.
Hurt from an Improper Lift? You May be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation.
If you have injured your back due to an improper lift at work you may qualify for workers’ compensation for your back pain or another similar injury.
Keches Law Group’s skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can assist you. Contact us today.