Heavy lifting is a common requirement in many industries, from construction to retail. Unfortunately, it’s also a leading cause of workplace injuries. Lifting injuries can lead to substantial medical costs and lost productivity.
Recognizing the common causes and understanding the financial implications of treatment is essential for both employers and employees.
Common causes of lifting injuries
There’s more to a lifting injury than forcing the body to carry excessively heavy loads. Certain work scenarios or circumstances can lead to injuries. These include:
- Improper lifting techniques: Bending at the waist instead of the knees can strain the back.
- Overexertion: Lifting items that are too heavy for one’s capacity can lead to muscle or joint injuries.
- Repetitive motion: Repeatedly lifting objects, even if not heavy, can cause overuse injuries.
- Awkward postures: Twisting while lifting can increase the risk of injury.
Not all lifting injuries happen on the spot. Some might be the product of repeated exposure to these conditions over a period of time.
Estimated costs of treatment
Lifting injuries can be very expensive to treat, depending on their severity. Here are some of the more common injuries a worker could suffer and their estimated medical costs:
- Muscle strains: Treatment may include physical therapy and medication, with costs ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Back injuries: These can require more extensive treatment, including surgery, with costs potentially exceeding tens of thousands of dollars.
- Joint injuries: Treatment costs, including surgery and rehabilitation, can be similar to those for back injuries.
- Hernias: Surgical repair for hernias can lead to significant expenses, often within the range of back and joint injury treatments.
Fortunately for workers, workers’ compensation can cover the medical treatment of their lifting injuries. Workers’ comp can also provide wage replacement should the injury prevent the worker from returning to work immediately. The insurance can also pay out benefits should the injuries lead to permanent impairment.
Filing a claim
But workers’ compensation isn’t paid out automatically; workers must first report the injury to their employer to start the process. The employer then provides the employee with initial medical treatment. From there, the employee must file a Form 30C within a year from the date of their injury. The Form 30C document serves as an official claim and is separate from the initial accident report form.
There’s no guarantee that the worker’s employer or insurer would approve a claim. If this happens, the worker shouldn’t lose hope – they can still appeal the decision with the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission.
This appeal process will involve hearings before an administrative judge. A legal professional may be able to properly present a worker’s case and uphold their rights in these hearings.