Working in the baggage office or on the ramp at DCA, IAD or BWI requires handling thousands of suitcases and other pieces of luggage every year. On any given day, you lift and toss both lightweight and extra-heavy bags.
Even if you use proper lifting techniques, you are likely to experience soreness in your back, neck, shoulders and legs. While some discomfort is normal, you should not ignore the symptoms of these three common injuries.
1. Herniated disks
Between each of your backbones, you have rubbery disks that provide cushion and help to facilitate movement. Lifting and twisting can cause these discs to bulge, rupture or move out of place. If that happens, you are likely to experience significant pain. You also may need surgery to repair your herniated disks.
2. Torn rotator cuffs
You have a rotator cuff in each of your shoulders. This grouping of muscles, tendons and ligaments allows you to lift your arms over your head. When you are throwing heavy bags, you put extreme stress on one or both of your rotator cuffs. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your rotator cuff tears, surgery and extensive rehabilitation may be in your future.
3. Nervous system injuries
Your central nervous system includes your brain and spinal cord. You also have a network of nerves that runs throughout your entire body. Whether due to trauma to repetitive stress, you may injure your brain, spinal cord or nerves when performing your job duties. Sadly, many brain, spinal cord and nerve injuries can be exceedingly difficult or even impossible to repair.
Ultimately, if you sustain one of these injuries or any other injury when working as a baggage handler, you must take steps to pursue the financial compensation you need to make the fullest possible recovery.