3 common workplace injuries baggage handlers suffer
Lower back injuries
The lower back is crucially important in the task of lifting heavy bags. Much of the work on the baggage ramp is done by this strong combination of muscles, tendons and vertebrae. When employees use their lower back in an improper fashion, they may suffer a career-ending injury. Any of the following bad habits can damage the back muscles:
- Bending at the waist rather than at the knees
- Twisting the back while lifting and moving baggage
- Handling excessively heavy loads without assistance
A lower back injury can require months or even years away from work for a full recovery. It is unwise to risk an on-the-job accident and long-term disability for the sake of saving a few seconds on the ramp.
Baggage handling involves heavy items which are often placed at a considerable height. If a bag or package falls on a baggage handler’s head, a severe head injury may occur. A 50-pound suitcase can cause a fractured skull or brain trauma if it is allowed to drop. Handlers also face the risk of head injuries while working outdoors in wet, icy or snowy conditions. Slipping and falling on a slick surface can lead to permanent damage.
Not all trauma on the baggage ramp is sudden and dramatic. Hours of repetitive work can cause long-term stress and joint degeneration. Many baggage handlers are forced to switch to light duty or retire early because of strain on muscles, tendons and bones. These injured workers have equal rights to compensation and retraining, even if their injuries take years to develop.
Working for a safer profession
Some baggage handling injuries are preventable. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a set of guidelines for baggage handlers to minimize the risk of trauma on the job. By following proper ergonomic procedures, using appropriate safety equipment and reporting unsafe conditions promptly, workers can decrease the chance of injury.
Know your rights as a baggage handler
Injured baggage handlers have the right to full compensation, medical treatment and vocational retraining when necessary. Find out more about your options by getting in touch with a personal injury attorney today.