Worker carrying a heavy bundleAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lift-related injuries are the primary cause of workers’ compensation claims. If you’ve sustained injuries due to lifting, lowering, holding, or carrying the materials necessary to perform a job-related task, you may be entitled to compensation.

Types of Heavy Lifting Accidents

Lifting injuries can occur in many different industries. For example:

  • A construction worker could be injured while lifting heavy building materials.
  • A cook could be injured grabbing a heavy bag of flour from a pantry shelf.
  • A nurses’ aide could be injured helping a patient from his bed and into a wheelchair.
  • A custodian could be injured emptying heavy trash cans or recycling bins.

Improper lifting can result in injuries that cause both pain and limited range of motion. These include:

  • Back sprains and strains
  • Herniated disk
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Patellar tendinitis

Risk Factors

Lifting-related injuries occur most often when:

  • A worker is trying to lift more than 50 pounds without assistance.
  • The load is being carried on one shoulder, under one arm, or in one hand, creating uneven pressure on the spine.
  • The worker must bend to lift the object, which increases stress on the lower spine and muscle fatigue by forcing the back to support the weight of the upper body.
  • The worker must lift items repeatedly without adequate rest breaks.
  • The worker must lift and hold an object for a long period of time.
  • Environmental factors such as extreme heat or cold create fatigue.

Using safe lifting practices can reduce a worker’s risk of injury. As a general guideline, a single person should be able to lift an object weighing up to 50 pounds if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • The load won’t shift after it’s lifted.
  • There’s a handle on the object.
  • No twisting motions are involved.
  • The object is at waist height and directly in front of the person doing the lifting.
  • The object is within seven inches from the front of the lifter’s body.

When these criteria aren’t meant, one of the following steps should be taken for worker safety:

  • Two people should work together to lift the object.
  • The weight of the load should be decreased by making multiple trips.
  • A dolly, cart, or other form of mechanical assistance should be used.

Seeking Treatment for Work-Related Injuries

Georgia residents who are employed in a business with three or more workers are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether their own conduct contributed to the injury. Both part-time and full-time employees are eligible, even if the injury occurred during the worker’s initial training period.

If you’ve been injured, it’s vital that you report the incident to a supervisor immediately. Ask anyone who saw you injure yourself to provide a statement supporting your version of the events. When you fail to make an immediate report, you risk having the workers’ compensation insurer claim your symptoms are the result of an incident that occurred outside the workplace.

After you’ve filed your report, your employer should direct you to choose a doctor from their posted panel of physicians. If there is a proper posted panel, you must seek treatment from someone on this list.  

Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Depending upon the severity of your injury, you may be entitled to several different types of benefits. Medical benefits are used to cover the cost of treatment, while income replacement benefits in the form of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) or Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) payments alleviate some of the financial burden of being unable to work. If you’re left with permanent disabilities, you may be entitled to Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) payments as well.

If you’re having trouble getting your workers’ compensation benefits approved, seeking an attorney with experience in this area will allow you to focus on your recovery without the stress of communicating with the insurer directly. The legal team at Rechtman & Spevak is committed to helping Georgia residents receive fair and timely workers’ compensation settlements. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.