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How shoulder injuries happen on the job

| Oct 9, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

The shoulder is a complex body part, with many joints, tendons and muscles working together to lift and rotate the arm. With so many moving parts, it is no surprise that shoulder injuries are common among Milwaukee workers, Waukesha workers…and workers all over Wisconsin!

Workers in virtually any field can suffer a shoulder injury. Whether you work in a warehouse, factory, construction site or office, you can hurt your shoulder on the job. Besides being painful, shoulder damage can limit your flexibility, strength and range of motion. You might be unable to perform all your job functions and could even have to stop working for a while to recover.

What causes job-related shoulder harm?

Work tasks that can lead to a shoulder injury include:

  • Lifting and carrying heavy objects
  • Operating industrial machinery
  • Repetitive tasks, like assembly line work or checking out groceries
  • Repeated product packaging, locating, or preparing at distribution centers
  • Using a computer mouse

These types of jobs have several risk factors in common, such as:

  • Awkward postures
  • Working with your arms above shoulder level
  • Having to hold your body in one position for a long time
  • Vibrations running from the hands up the arms

There are things you can do to reduce your chances of injuring your shoulder at work. Brief rest breaks to shake out your arms and hands can help relieve tension. So can 10-minute walk breaks. If you work at a desk, an office chair that promotes good posture and a computer screen centered on your vision are also helpful.

Your rights as an injured Wisconsin worker

But if you have already hurt your shoulder, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp helps pay your medical bills and offset your lost wages while you are unable to work.  Many shoulder injuries require surgery–ultimately, resulting in a percentage of disability determined by the doctor. However, many employers are reluctant to approve claims, even when the connection between the employee’s work duties and their injury would seem to be clear.

Retraining and shoulder claims

If you have permanent limitations from your shoulder work injury and cannot return to work (or make the same amount of money), you may have the opportunity to go back to school, with the workers’ compensation insurance company paying.  A vocational retraining program involves being retrained into a new less physical field.  The benefits include tuition, books, meals, and mileage for school.  These claims can be tough to navigate, so consultation with an attorney is suggested.

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