Overexertion is one of the most common work-related disability injuries. Overexertion injuries involve working the body or one body part too hard, causing damage to the muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage or joint. Overexertion can be caused be pulling, pushing or lifting with excessive force. There were more than 3.2 million overexertion injuries in 2009. Overexertion injuries account for almost 27% of workplace injuries in the US. These injuries are most common in young employees. In 2005, businesses paid a total of $12.7 billion in over exertion injury costs. In 2000 sprains and strains alone lead to $40 billion in lost productivity.Employers that want to minimize these costs should take a few steps to help reduce the risk of their employees overexerting themselves. Employers should make safety a priority for their employees. Employers should encourage employees to report all concerns about aches and pains. If aches are reported early they can often be healed early, and it will lower the risk of more severe injuries. When an employee reports an injury the employer should consider removing the employee from the task that is causing he/she an ache or pain. The employer should also make sure that their employees are never lifting something that is too heavy for them.
Employers should also teach all of their employees proper form and technique when it comes to lifting or moving an object. Teaching simple changes to an employee’s movements can prevent overexertion. The employer should make sure their employees are lifting with their arms and legs and not their backs. This helps by keeping movements slow and smooth instead of quick and jerky, and it reduces exertion. Also, when employees are lifting repetitively the employers should allow them a few short breaks to allow recover
Employers can protect workers by helping them stay healthy and fit. Many employers will offer discounts on gym memberships, nutrition programs, and exercise courses to help employees stay active, and lose weight. These discounts encourage employees to start exercise programs due to the affordability provided by their employer. These programs keep workers’ muscles strong, and help keep workers from getting winded easily on the job.
One of the best methods for employers to reduce the risk of overexertion by workers is by providing tools to make lifting easier. Employers can lower shelf height to make lifting easier for workers. The best height is from knees to shoulder height. This allows the workers to lift an object in an easy fluid motion, reducing risk of injuries among workers. Another effective way employers can reduce the risk of injuries in workers is to purchase technology that fits the needs of an employee.
Employers that take the initiative, and have taken action against overexertion injuries have seen a major reduction in costs spent on work place injuries. They have become aware of their inefficiencies and have stepped up to protect their employees.
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company