You might be surprised to learn that overexertion in the workplace is the number one cause of workplace injuries and accounts for about one-quarter of all workplace injuries and claims.
So how do these workplace injuries from overexertion happen, and how can they be prevented?
Causes of Workplace Overexertion
- Doing a job in an awkward position.
- Reaching for something you can’t reach.
- Rapid movements.
- Unexpected and sudden muscle loading.
How to Prevent Overexertion
- Allow your employees to have anti-fatigue mats. All workplace injuries are more likely to happen if your employees are tired and sore. Anti-fatigue mats are well-documented to reduce pressure on joints, increase circulation, and make employees happier and more productive.
- Make sure you have step-stools and appropriate ladders readily available for use to avoid muscle strain.
- Make sure employees are adequately hydrated and drink enough water. Dehydration contributes to overexertion injuries.
- Put down mats in wet areas (like Waterhog Mats) to avoid slips, trips, and falls, which contribute to unexpected muscle loading and awkward positions.
- Give frequent short breaks. Although it may seem counterintuitive, shorter more frequent breaks for employees with very physical jobs are safer for the employee and makes the employee more productive, not less. Employers are often reluctant to give breaks even if the law requires them to do so. Happy and healthy employees are more productive. Unhappy and injured employees are bad for the bottom line and contribute to employee attrition and lost personnel.
- If your company is experiencing a lot of overexertion injuries, analyze how they are happening to see if a particular job could be done differently to avoid them.
Treatment of Overexertion
- Employees should be offered rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or Advil if applicable, and ice for muscle pain.
- Injuries that do not respond quickly to initial treatment should be treated by a licensed medical doctor.
- Talk to the injured employee to find out and document exactly what happened and if anything can be done to prevent it from happening again.
Business managers need to take care of their employees in order for the employees to give the business their best performance.
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