When you got your job, it said you needed to be able to lift 50 pounds. You’re in fairly good physical shape, but a few days on the job shows you that there could be some risks involved here. You have to do a lot of heavy lifting, and it puts a strain on your body.
You’re wise to be concerned. University studies have called lifting a leading cause of workplace injuries. You can lift heavy items hundreds or even thousands of times without incident. All it takes is one accident to give you a serious back, neck or spinal cord injury.
How can you avoid this?
The biggest thing is to straighten your back and lift with your legs. Do not take the weight on your back itself, even when bending over feels natural. Squatting down to lift is much safer. Your legs are far stronger than your back and your spine is strongest when that straight-line positioning remains.
It’s also important to simply think through the process. Where do you need to go? How far is it? Do you have any awkward movements to make, like turning to fit through a door? Thinking about the lift for 60 seconds can save you from months of rehab after an injury.
Finally, do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Don’t overexert yourself. Get another worker to grab the other side. Find a machine, like a dolly or a cart, to help with lifts that are extra heavy or where you have to go a long distance. You don’t have to “prove” anything to the other workers, especially not at the risk of serious injury.
If you do get hurt on the job, then it’s time to look into all of your legal options. Workers’ compensation can provide many benefits that will help get your through, but a successful claim isn’t always easy. Don’t be shy about seeking legal assistance when you need it.