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Crush injuries can lead to serious, long-term problems

Many people in Portland, Oregon, work at industrial sites or construction zones where there are literally lots of heavy moving parts. In addition to different types of vehicles and industrial equipment like forklifts, walls, heavy loads and other objects are commonplace at an industrial or construction Even mounds of dirt or debris, or, for that matter, open ditches, can give way and move suddenly and without warning.

What this means is that there is a higher likelihood that a worker will get crushed or pinned when they are on the job. It is important to remember, though, that crush injuries can occur in just about any occupation a Portlander may chose, as just about any business involves the use of some heavy objects.

When a person gets crushed or pinned, the medical consequences are often very serious. While one would hope to walk away with a cut, bruises or another treatable wound, broken bones and damage to one's nerves are also common after being crushed. Infections can also develop, and a person may experience dangerous internal bleeding.

Following crush trauma, a victim also faces the possibility of developing what is called compartment syndrome. Basically, muscles are compartmentalized in our bodies by other tissue, which, as the name "compartment" implies, does not stretch when the muscles swell. The syndrome can develop when a crush injury causes the muscles inside the compartment to swell.

If the swelling is not treated, circulation to the compartment will be cut and, eventually, the muscles in that compartment will die. At that point, amputation may be the only option.

While no worker wants to experience a crush injury, they should be aware that after experiencing a crush trauma at work, they are likely eligible to receive compensation for their medical bills and some of their lost wages through Oregon's workers' compensation system.

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