Lifting Injuries And Workers’ Compensation Claims In Florida
Lifting injuries are more common than they should be in Fort Lauderdale workplaces. While employees should have access to safety equipment and should receive proper training to prevent repetitive-motion or traumatic injuries caused by lifting heavy materials, these kinds of injuries occur more frequently than you might think. The good news is that most workplace lifting injuries allow the injured worker to seek workers’ compensation benefits that can pay for medical care and can help to compensate for lost wages. Our South Florida workers’ compensation attorneys want to make sure you have the information you need about lifting injuries and seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
Lifting Injuries Are More Common Than You Might Think
How often do workers sustain serious injuries from lifting heavy materials or equipment? According to the UNC Office of Environment, Health and Safety, “lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace,” and more than 36 percent of workplace injuries that result in missed work days are shoulder and back injuries that can be linked to heavy lifting. Indeed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows “more than one million workers experience back injuries each year,” and about 75 percent of those back injuries result from an employee “performing lifting tasks.” There are many different ways in which lifting heavy items can cause injuries, including but not limited to the following:
- Overexertion injuries and cumulative trauma;
- Traumatic injuries linked to a single heavy lifting experience;
- Bending injuries;
- Twisting and turning injuries;
- Improperly carrying heavy loads; and
- Manually moving materials that should be moved with a machine or vehicle.
When lifting injuries do occur, they can include, for example:
- Muscle pulls;
- Wrist injuries;
- Elbow injuries; and
- Spinal injuries.
Avoiding Lifting Injuries at Work
It is certainly possible to prevent lifting injuries in the workplace. Employers should train employees to take the following steps recommended by OSHA:
- Planning ahead before you lift anything to ensure that your path is free of debris and that you do not need another person to help you lift;
- Stretching and warming up physically before you lift heavy objects, including lower back rotations and hamstring stretches;
- Bending your knees and keeping your body upright when you do lift an object;
- Taking small steps and leading with your hips while you carry a heavy object; and
- Lowering the load by lowering your legs and keeping the object close to your body while you set down the heavy object.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you do suffer a lifting injury, even if you made a mistake in the recommended safe lifting practices, you should be eligible to seek compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim. Florida law requires that you report the injury as soon as possible to your employer, but you must report it no later than 30 days after the injury or you can lose your ability to obtain compensation.
Once you report the injury to your employer, your employer will report the injury to the insurance company, and you should receive information about seeking medical treatment. You should also get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can to ensure that you have taken all necessary steps to initiate a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Do you need assistance with your claim? One of our experienced South Florida workers’ compensation attorneys can help. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. today.