How heavy is too heavy? How and when to use lifting straps

Heavy lifting is a relevant workers’ compensation issue. Whether you work in North Carolina or elsewhere, your employer is obligated to maintain a safe working environment for you and your coworkers. Your employer must also provide proper training and available equipment to help you avoid workplace injuries. Certain tasks, such as lifting heavy objects, might increase your risk of injury on the job.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not specify how heavy is too heavy regarding objects that you can lift at work without using lifting straps. However, OSHA does require your employer to inform you of any known hazardous conditions on the job and to ensure that you have received proper training, including how and when to use safety equipment.

A different agency lists recommendations for heavy lifting

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a separate agency from OSHA, one with which you may or may not be familiar. NIOSH has stated conclusions based on research. It also has a mathematical formula to determine when heavy lifting is a high-risk factor for injuries, above and beyond the inherent risks that exist when lifting or moving any type of object or equipment in the workplace.

However, NIOSH does not set requirements or regulations to which workers or employers must adhere. The agency merely conducts injury risk factor research, then states its findings. Using its mathematical formula, NIOSH has determined that a lifting index greater than 3.0 places a worker at great risk for severe injuries, including but not limited to those that affect the back.

Workers’ compensation issues can be complex

OSHA regulations state that employers in North Carolina and throughout the country must provide work and a working environment free of known hazards that place workers at risk for severe injuries, including death. This, of course, can spark a dispute regarding what exactly a particular employer should be aware of that is relevant to employee safety.

If you suffer a heavy lifting injury, whether or not you were wearing a lifting strap, you might encounter challenges as you navigate the workers’ comp system, especially if your employer or an insurance agency tries to deny your claim. This is why it is always a good idea to reach out for additional support from someone who is knowledgeable about the appeals process.

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