Working as a professional mover is a very physically demanding job that requires lifting and moving objects of all sizes. Some of these objects can be incredibly heavy or oddly shaped and require special lifting techniques. Professional movers are, for the most part, trained to lift and carry large and oddly shaped objects safely; but even the best training cannot always prevent devastating injuries from occurring. Many movers are injured while lifting heavy objects on the job or know a coworker who has been severely injured. Some of the most common injuries from lifting heavy objects include back injuries, broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and overexertion issues.
Back injuries are the most common work-related injuries from lifting heavy objects. Straining the back, also known as “throwing your back out,” can leave a worker with severe, debilitating back pain. More severe back injuries – including herniated discs and torn muscles – can also occur after lifting a heavy item. Using proper lifting techniques and equipment can help prevent these sorts of injuries from occurring. Workers must also know their limits when lifting a heavy item or lifting something they are not familiar with. It is critical to follow all safety protocols for lifting, including when to team lift or use a lifting assistance device such as a dolly or cart.
Moving heavy items in and out of homes and moving trucks can quickly lead to fingers getting squished and toes getting stubbed. Heavy objects can also fall and crush feet and toes. Broken bones are not uncommon injuries when working as a professional mover. Broken bones can be extremely painful and require emergency medical attention. Sometimes a broken bone will require surgery to fix. Many moving companies require their workers to wear thick work gloves and appropriate work boots while moving heavy objects to help prevent these types of injuries. Since the use of hands and feet is crucial to being able to work in the moving industry, these injuries can prevent workers from earning the money they need to support their loved ones.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Many moving injuries are caused by slipping, tripping, or falling while carrying a heavy object. If the weight of that object is not balanced correctly or the object is an unusual shape and a worker cannot grip the item safely, they may slip and fall while holding it. This can cause a wide variety of severe injuries that leave a worker in pain and possibly disabled. Slipping, tripping, and falling can cause severe knee and elbow injuries from twisting the body in an unnatural way, as well as possibly breaking bones when trying to brace for impact during a fall. Slipping and rolling an ankle can cause a sprain or strain that can disable a worker for days if not weeks. To help avoid slipping, tripping, and falling while carrying a heavy object, the object should be well-balanced, or if it is too heavy for just one person to lift, team-lifting should be used to move it through a cleared pathway.
Cuts and Scrapes
Professional movers are asked to move a variety of items that are sharp or fragile. Moving large, heavy mirrors, glassware, or kitchen boxes that are not packed safely can easily lead to cuts and scrapes. If any of these items falls, breaks, or pokes through a box, a mover can easily be injured and have to seek emergency treatment for a significant cut. Wearing appropriate protective equipment, including work gloves and thick clothing, can help prevent or lessen the severity of a cut or scrape when moving heavy objects.
Professional movers are expected to lift heavy objects many times per work shift. This can easily lead to overexertion and repetitive injuries because certain parts of the body will become overworked and worn down. Some injuries that appear from overexertion include carpal tunnel, stress fractures, and disc degeneration. Lifting heavy items according to safety guidelines can help prevent these injuries, however some may appear over time even when lifting heavy objects correctly each time.
Safety Training Can Help Prevent Injuries
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed national ergonomic standards that employers are encouraged to voluntarily follow to keep workers safe. This includes training all professional movers working for a moving company in proper lifting techniques. “For movers, training employees in proper lifting would be the biggest concern,” according to OSHA spokesperson Deanne Amaden. “If an employee knows the safest way to do their job, they are more likely to avoid injuries and accidents.” Detailed training programs can help professional movers avoid being injured while on the job.
Some common heavy lifting safety tips include:
- Squat down and use your legs when lifting a heavy object, not your back.
- Always take your time and focus on the item you are lifting.
- When team lifting, communicate when and how the lift will be performed and the path you are going to take together.
- Wear appropriate safety gear, including work gloves, steel toed boots, and back harnesses as appropriate.
- Avoid tripping and falling by clearing the walking pathway before performing the lift.
- Use a dolly or cart for heavy objects you cannot lift safely on your own.
Houston Work Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured while lifting a heavy object at work, you have rights. Our experienced legal team can help guide you through the process of seeking fair compensation for your injuries. We know this is a confusing and stressful time for you and your family. Trust our team to fight for you every step of the way. We know how to fight big insurance companies and corporate defendants who do not want to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today to discuss your case.