Overexertion injuries aren’t something you probably hear about that often — but they should be. Every year, workers push their bodies past the point of safety or endurance — resulting in chronic pain in their wrists, knees, necks, shoulders and other areas.
Overexertion has long been the primary cause of non-fatal workplace injuries in many industries. The only thing that causes people to miss more work than overexertion injuries is actually the common cold.
An overexertion injury can involve a sprain, which damages the ligaments connecting your bones together at the joints, or a strain, which damages your tendons and muscles. A significant injury can put you off the job for weeks or months at a time and even require surgery — so it’s wisest to take as many preventative steps as possible to avoid these types of injuries in the first place:
- Take time to warm up and stretch if you’re doing a lot of lifting.
- Assess the load — and then assess your limits. Get help from another employee if you can’t safely lift or carry something alone.
- Break down larger loads into smaller ones.
- Make sure that you learn to lift properly, with your knees and not your back.
- Wear knee pads if you’re required to do a lot of kneeling.
- A waist brace is also good if you regularly lift heavy items.
- Don’t forget overexertion injuries can also come from things like typing, painting or any repetitive motion — even if the motion doesn’t require a lot of pressure or physical effort. Take frequent breaks and use stretching exercises to loosen tight or sore muscles and ligaments.
Your employer can also do a lot to reduce the potential for overexertion injuries by making sure that employees who regularly have to lift or carry heavy loads have mechanical assistance. A simple dolly, for example, can go a long way toward reducing back and shoulder injuries, while ergonomic chairs and keyboards can help reduce neck and wrist damage in employees who work at their desks.
If you do suffer an overexertion injury at work, don’t be afraid to claim your right to compensation. Talk to an attorney about workers’ compensation as soon as possible.
Source: www.arbill.com, “Top 10 Most Common Workplace Injuries,” Julie Copeland, accessed July 31, 2017
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