If you work in a warehouse, you likely have a healthy respect for forklifts. After all, at roughly 9,000 pounds, a standard forklift is about three times heavier than the average car. If you have sustained an injury when working with a forklift, you can likely take advantage of Minnesota’s worker’s compensation system. Still, a forklift does not have to collide with you to cause you serious injuries.
Forklift operators are often vulnerable to repetitive-stress and musculoskeletal injuries that affect the soft tissues of the body. If you have lower back pain, neck pain, headaches or other similar symptoms, you may have one of the following common types of soft-tissue injuries.
Rapid starts and stops on a forklift may cause you to develop whiplash. This condition occurs when the head moves quickly in opposing directions. Unfortunately, there is often no quick way to recover from whiplash. On the contrary, you may need to take pain medication while going through extensive rehabilitation.
2. Strained muscles
Forklifts do not always encourage good posture. If you sit in an ergonomically incorrect way, you may strain muscles, ligaments and connective tissues in your neck and back. The forklift’s vibration may also cause you to develop ongoing numbness, pain or muscular weakness.
3. Herniated and degenerated discs
Your spine has several jelly-like discs that cushion each vertebra. Twisting and sitting may cause these discs to bulge. Similarly, prolonged forklift sitting and turning may contribute to degenerative disc disease. Herniated and degenerated discs may both require surgery to repair, unfortunately.
4. Joint problems
To operate a forklift, you must continually use joints in your arms, legs and shoulders. Under normal conditions, these joints may develop chronic pain from repetitive movements. If you regularly brace yourself to compensate for forklift maneuvers, however, you may also sustain an acute joint injury.