Archive for October, 2020

Workplace injuries linked to heavy lifting on the job

Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting is often just part of the job in some occupations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, heavy lifting is a common cause of work-related injuries, roughly 36 percent of which involve shoulder and back injuries. Heavy lifting can cause trauma or wear and tear to the muscles, joints and ligaments.

Who is most at risk of work injuries linked to heavy lifting?

Heavy lifting is common in the following occupations:

  • Construction workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Warehouse and dock workers
  • Commercial truck drivers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Retail laborers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Logging workers
  • Nurses and nursing assistants

How can workers prevent injuries?

OSHA has offered some suggestions on how employers can prevent injuries when heavy lifting on the job. These include:

  • Utilizing the right equipment — forklifts, pallet jacks, hand trucks, duct lifts and other mechanical equipment to lift and transport heavy items.
  • Installing ramps and lift gates — employers should consider installing ramps and lift gates in areas where workers may be transporting heavy objects manually or with machinery.
  • Reducing the weight of items — in some industries, employers can consider working with higher quantities of items to reduce the amount of weight workers need to lift at once.

OSHA also suggests that workers consider employing these smart lifting practices:

  • Utilize the “power zone” — this is where items are placed from mid-thigh to mid-chest, which makes it easier to lift without having to squat or bend.
  • Maintaining good posture — workers should maintain a straight and neutral spine whenever possible. Avoid rounding your back or bending when lifting. Only bend at the knees, not the waist.
  • Limiting how much weight you lift — Avoid lifting weight greater than 50 lbs. If you must lift a heavier object, it should be done with two or more people.
  • Avoid twisting — When lifting a heavy object, it’s better to turn by moving the feet rather than twisting at the torso.
  • Keep elbows in close — Keep the load as close to your body as possible to avoid upper body strain.

What types of injuries are caused by heavy lifting?

Heavy lifting can often lead to these work-related injuries:

  • Muscle strains and tears
  • Tendon/ligament sprains and tears
  • Knee injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Injuries to the feet, shins, or knees (if heavy objects are dropped)
  • Slip and falls when lifting (usually when walking surfaces are slick)

If you sustained an injury on the job, you could be out of work for several weeks or months, unable to earn a paycheck. On top of that, you may be facing medical expenses that add up. You may be able to pursue workers’ compensation benefits to cover these losses, but doing so won’t be easy.

Workers’ compensation cases are often complex and require a great deal of paperwork and litigation. Let an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl handle your case for you. We know how the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts and Rhode Island works and how to best represent our clients at trial. Contact us online for your free case evaluation.

Do I need a doctor’s note to pursue a workers’ comp claim?

Doctor's note

Workplace accidents that result in an injury can happen when least expected. One careless mistake could lead to several months out of work and costly medical bills. If you were hurt on the job, it’s critical that you take your workers’ compensation claim seriously from the start and take the right course of action.

It could take several months to recover from workplace injuries, such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe soft tissue injuries
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Neck, back and spine injuries
  • Crushed limbs

Filing a successful workers’ compensation claim requires the right documents. Among those is a doctor’s note, which you must have in order to pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

Why is a doctor’s note so important when pursuing a claim?

The purpose of a doctor’s note is to state whether you can return to work or return with restrictions. The note should only be provided by your primary care physician or another doctor who diagnosed and treated your injuries. Notes from physical therapists, occupational therapists or professionals from other medical practices don’t qualify.

It’s also important to keep your doctor’s note and other medical records on file. Doing so can eliminate questions regarding referrals to specialists, as well as authorizations for treatment.

Ensure that all information in your note is accurate

During your medical evaluation, don’t hesitate to ask questions. It’s important that the instructions given to you by your doctor are clear. There should be no confusion regarding your treatment and length of recovery. If any other issues come up and you can’t return to work, it’s important that you discuss that with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

When obtaining a doctor’s note and medical records, always double-check to ensure that the information is accurate. Also ensure that the instructions given by your doctor are included and match what your doctor told you.

Let an experienced workers’ compensation attorney handle the rest

If you were injured on the job, you may not be fully aware of the rights and legal options available to you. On top of that, the paperwork involved in filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complex and confusing. Any mistakes in the filing process could lead to your financial benefits being delayed or denied.

That’s why it’s critical that you speak to an experienced attorney who knows how the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts and Rhode Island works.

Contact the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.