Hazards of Heavy Lifting in the WorkplaceMarch 27, 2019
Working in a warehouse or at a busy construction site often involves a significant amount of heavy lifting. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), heavy lifting is one of the main causes of workplace injuries, over one third of which include shoulder and back injuries.
Many of these injuries can be avoided if employees use the appropriate lifting techniques when reaching, bending, lifting, or holding a heavy object for an extended period of time. If you have been injured on the job while lifting a heavy object, an experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you secure the benefits that you are entitled to receive.
Types of Injuries Caused by Heavy Lifting
Employees who use smart lifting practices are less likely to suffer from the following injuries:
- Back sprains
- Pulled muscles
- Wrist Injuries
- Elbow injuries
- Spinal injuries
Workplace Hazards that Increase Risk of Injury
The following are known hazards that can be adjusted in order to reduce injuries:
Weight of Objects: Large, heavy loads put a strain on the muscles, discs, and vertebrae, particularly loads that weigh 50 pounds or more. Possible solutions include using machinery, ramps, or suction devices to lift the heavy objects.
If lifting is unavoidable, the object should be placed at “power zone” height, which is mid-thigh to mid-chest.
Awkward Postures: Improper bending, reaching, or carrying techniques can put extreme stress on the back, shoulders, and spine. Avoid twisting or awkward bending or reaching. Keep heavier objects close to the body when lifting and keep the elbows as close to the body as practical.
If possible, break down the heavy loads to smaller, lighter units.
Repeated, or Long-Duration Lifting: This can also put a great deal of strain on the muscles and joints, particularly when imposing repeated, or extended periods of physical stress on the body.
Possible solutions include taking regular breaks, working as a team, using stands or lifting devices, and taking the opportunity to stretch and rest fatigued muscles.
Inadequate Handholds: There is an increased risk of injury when an object is difficult to lift. Make sure the object being lifted has the proper handholds, or use suction devices to lift the material.
Loads can also be moved into an alternate container that has good handholds. Use gloves that provide added grip to avoid dropping a heavy load.
Environmental Factors: Extreme cold can increase the risk of pulled muscles. Extreme heat can cause dehydration, fatigue, and an increased metabolic load. Any condition that causes reduced visibility can increase the risk of trips and falls.
Maintain a comfortable temperature in the work environment. If working outside, wear the appropriate clothing based on the weather. Drink plenty of fluids during excessive heat. Make sure that the work areas are well-lit.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Benefits for Workers Injured by Lifting Heavy Loads
If you have suffered a heavy lifting injury while on the job, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. We will guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the full financial benefits you deserve based on the injuries you sustained. Our skilled and knowledgeable team will protect your rights and address all of your questions and concerns. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We serve clients in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.