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How Heavy Is Too Heavy to Lift Safely?

Lifting bulky and heavy objects is a daily occurrence in many occupations. For those in industries such as warehousing, manufacturing, and other fields, the toll of consistently lifting objects can cause serious health issues. Employers are encouraged to properly train employees in safe practices that can be used to reduce the strain on areas such as the lower back and to provide the proper equipment to use when lifting. The amount of weight that a worker can safely lift will vary according to his or her own weight and abilities, but it is generally recommended that workers refrain from bodily lifting more than 50 pounds.

Items that can aid in lifting heavy objects include:

  • Ramps
  • Lift gates
  • Forklifts
  • Pallet jackets
  • Hand trucks
  • Suction devices

When an object must be lifted manually, there are certain steps that can decrease the strain on the body. Employers must train employees in proper lifting techniques, such as keeping the spine straight and lifting from the knees rather than the back.

Injuries resulting from strenuous lifting can include:

  • Back injury
  • Fractured lower extremity
  • Fractured spinal cord
  • Herniated cervical disc
  • Knee injury
  • Lumbar vertebral disk herniation
  • Neck injury
  • Pinched nerves and/or nerve damage

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have legal limits in place regarding how much weight an employee can be asked to move, employers must take steps to ensure that workers suffer the minimum possible strain. For example, an employer who demands that workers perform tasks that are known to be unsafe—such as lifting objects that are too heavy without providing the proper lifting equipment—could be held liable for resulting injuries.

If you have suffered short- or long-term injuries due to unsafe lifting practices at your workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys of Arnold & Itkin have helped workers in a wide range of fields assess the damages that have been inflicted on them through negligent work standards and hold their employers responsible. Contact us today for a free consultation.