Lifting injuries on the job are very common, no matter what industry you work in. Depending on how severe the injury is, victims may need ongoing medical treatment. This could include physical therapy, pain management and possibly surgery.
Below, Schmidt Kramer discusses lifting injuries, including how they may happen in the workplace. We also look at whether your Pennsylvania workers’ comp insurance may provide coverage.
If you suffer a workplace injury, it may benefit you to seek legal help. You can contact our law offices at a time that is convenient for you. We have staff available to take your call 24/7, and they can set you up for a FREE case review with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Harrisburg.
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How Do Lifting Injuries Happen on the Job in Harrisburg?
Lifting injuries can happen to anyone, whether you work in an office or on a construction site. It is true, however, that the risk for this type of injury is higher in certain industries. For instance, you may be more likely to suffer a lifting injury if you work in these industries:
- Construction sites
- Warehouse workers
- Fire rescue workers
- Workers who provide delivery services
- Nurses and other caregivers who lift patients
- Truck drivers
- Baggage handlers
- Heavy equipment operators
- Road workers
- And more
What Are Some Common Lifting Injuries That Happen at Work in Harrisburg?
Lifting injuries on the job can happen as the sudden result of trauma or from repetitive actions over time. People may often think of hurting their back when discussing a lifting injury. It is true that back injuries often occur while lifting something heavy or when lifting items in the wrong way. Lifting injuries to your back may also occur over time while doing repetitive tasks on the job. That said, your back is not the only part of your body that can suffer a lifting injury at work.
Other types of lifting injuries that can occur at your Harrisburg job may include:
- Rotator cuff injuries: This is a common type of shoulder injury that is extremely painful. Workers may suffer a rotator cuff injury by lifting a heavier object suddenly or in the wrong way. However, if lifting is a daily part of your job, meaning it is a repetitive task, it could also happen over time. If there is a tear, surgery will most likely be required. Workers with this injury cannot lift anything over their heads as their range of motion will be limited.
- Herniated or slipped disc injuries: If you suffer a disc injury, you may feel pain in your lower back. You may also experience tingling, numbness or burning pain that may radiate down your leg or into other areas of your body. Sometimes surgery may be needed, but there are also some less-invasive treatments you can try, such as physical therapy, extended rest (six to eight weeks), spinal stabilization training and more.
- Repetitive stress injuries: At work, you could suffer a repetitive stress injury in several parts of your body, such as your wrist, elbow, shoulder, back, forearms, and more. That said, the most common RSIs involve your forearms, wrists, elbows or hands. This type of lifting injury can result from repeating the same task every day at work, such as picking up boxes or other heavy items.
- Pinched nerves in your neck, back and other areas: Workers who do not lift properly are especially at risk for getting injured.
- IT band syndrome: Iliotibial band syndrome involves the long, thick fibrous band of connective tissue (fascia) that runs on the outer part of your thigh. This injury causes prolonged pain on the outside joint of your knee, but it can run from your hip, across your knee joint and even in the tibia of your lower leg. Although it is common amongst runners and other athletes, you could also develop IT band syndrome if you have a job that requires repetitive bending and extending of the knee. This injury causes prolonged pain on the outside joint of your knee.
Will Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Cover Me for a Lifting Injury on the Job?
Workers who suffer a lifting injury on the job are likely eligible to recover medical costs, lost wages and other benefits through a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. That said, you must be able to prove that your injury happened while you were working. For some injuries, such as those caused by repetitive lifting, it can be challenging. Your employer may try to say that your injury was not caused by your job and that it happened elsewhere. Even if you had a lifting accident at work, your employer may try to say your injury is the result of a preexisting condition.
Another tactic an employer may try is to approach a worker with a lifting injury and offer them a lump sum of money. However, if you accept it, understand that the payment is not intended to benefit you. A lump sum offer is to reduce what your employer and his or her insurance carrier ends up paying you. This type of offer is unlikely to fully cover the damages resulting from your work injury.
You cannot know the full value of your claim until you finish treatment and achieve your maximum medical improvement. Unfortunately, workers who choose to accept a lump sum payment without help from an attorney may find themselves paying out of pocket for additional medical costs.
Why Hire an Attorney to Help You After a Lifting Injury at Work?
Whether you sustained a lifting injury over time or because of a one-time incident, your attorney knows how to gather evidence that helps to prove your workers’ compensation claim. If a worker decides to do a lump sum workers’ comp payment in lieu of accepting ongoing benefits, an attorney can also help negotiate full and fair compensation.
How Can I Avoid Suffering a Lifting Injury at Work?
There are techniques you can use when lifting something heavy to help reduce the risk of injury. NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) recommends these lifting techniques.
Consider the Load You Have to Lift
Every load is different, both in size and weight. Sometimes an object or package can be unevenly weighted and throw the person lifting off-balance. This is why NIOSH recommends considering these factors before lifting:
- How often you will have to lift this object? For instance, is it a mechanical part that you have to lift every day or a package you get once in a while?
- What is the height of the object you have to lift?
- What is the height of the load that you have to shift
- How far in front of you will you have to carry the object
- To what extent do you need to twist your torso to lift the object?
Tips for Avoiding Lifting Injuries
Often avoiding a lifting injury requires some forethought, planning and common sense. More specific tips include:
- Use equipment to help you lift something heavy whenever possible
- Do not try to lift something that is clearly too heavy for you – get help
- When picking something up from a lower height, lift from your legs instead of your back
- Split the packages or objects into smaller parcels whenever possible
- Turn using your feet, rather than twisting your torso
- Take your time and stop immediately if you feel pain
Seek Legal Help After a Work-Related Lifting Injury
Schmidt Kramer has been advocating for injured workers for decades, including those with rotator cuffs, herniated discs or other lifting injuries. As an injured worker, you may greatly benefit from hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Harrisburg. We understand your rights in Pennsylvania and are ready to work hard to protect those rights as well as your legal interests.
Contact our law offices anytime, night or day. A case review to determine your legal options is completely FREE.
Proven Results. No Upfront Costs. (717) 727-1403