There is a right way and a wrong way to do just about everything. However, if your job requires you to lift heavy objects, the right way is the only way if you want to prevent a debilitating work injury. Back injuries such as sprains and strains, muscle, ligament, and tendon tears, herniated vertebrae, and neck and shoulder injuries often occur from lifting heavy objects. The National Safety Council (NSC) reported over 300,000 back injuries caused by lifting in 2014 alone.
A back injury can cause a host of residual impairments, such as mobility issues, debilitating pain, and lost wages. Surgery, physical therapy, and medication are common treatments for back injuries, but these can be expensive and require a great deal of time and energy.
Back, shoulder, and neck injuries are not the only consequences of heavy lifting. Bone fractures of the hands and feet; lacerations from sharp staples or edges along boxes; wear and tear on the knee, wrist, and ankle joints caused by repetitive motion and lifting; and foot problems associated with lifting heavy materials can all add up and result in debilitating physical conditions.
Lifting Injuries are Unexpectedly Common
Most people associate heavy lifting with jobs in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. Yet office workers routinely hurt their backs when they lift objects at work. Clerical staff; mail personnel; technology representatives; copy machine and other office equipment service people; and maintenance personnel routinely lift objects of substantial weight during the course of their work day. Just lifting a box of computer or copy paper can cause a significant injury if not done properly.
There are several ways to prevent injuries caused by lifting. Nurturing your back, even when you are outside of the work environment, can go a long way in preventing injury. Strengthening exercises and stretching of the back, neck, shoulders, arms, and abdominal core will make it easier to distribute the weight of a heavy load.
Daily exercise that includes running and walking or weight training that builds up leg muscles will allow you to use your knees and legs to lift heavy loads instead of straining your back.
Consider the Object Before You Lift
It is important to think and plan before you attempt to move or lift an object. Use a hand truck or another wheeled cart to lift and transport heavy objects. Sharing the task with another colleague can lighten the load as well.
When you lift, always lift with the legs, never with the back. When bending down to lift an object, keep your head and back straight and bend at the knees. As you stand up, let your knees and leg muscles absorb the stress and physical exertion. Keep objects close to your body and ensure that there is a clear path ahead.
If you are injured while lifting an object at work, it is imperative to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Identifying the injury and beginning treatment immediately can lessen the risk of permanent disability or complications. It can also help to ensure you receive the full Workers’ Compensation benefits to which you are entitled.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Injured Workers
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, call the Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.