Overexertion in the Workplace and What You Can Do
In studies done on workplace injuries, it was found that overexertion is listed as one of the number one causes of workplace injuries worldwide. Overexertion is working beyond one’s physical capabilities in the workplace, unfortunately something that happens too often under the eyes of employers. As such, overexertion also accounts for more than 25% of direct workers’ compensation costs paid in 1998. The estimated costs of overexertion was more than double the second-highest accident cause on the list at payouts of $9.8 billion each year. However, the economical turmoil caused by these injuries aren’t the biggest issue – it is the injuries themselves, and the pain that they cause to workers who suffer.
When a worker’s muscles become fatigued, muscular capacity is reduced and puts a worker at risk for one of these injuries. Many employers work themselves to the bone every day, attempting to perform tasks that are beyond their physical capabilities. Unfortunately, there is not just one single type of overexertion injury – it encompasses things like sprains and strains, back injuries, muscle tears, and joint injuries. Common types of overexertion injuries that happen in the workplace every day are caused by lifting boxes overhead, pushing crates, carrying heavy items for an extended period of time, standing or remaining in an awkward position for a long time, performing repetitive tasks, working in poorly ventilated areas, and moving too long without a break. When the physical demands of a job are too high, an employer becomes at-risk.
Another issue stands true that employers sometimes fail to properly train their employees for the job at hand, putting them at a much larger risk. A worker is more likely to become overexerted when they are asked to perform a job that is above their skill or training level. For example, what happens if an untrained worker attempts to pick up something that is 100 pounds on the job? They will likely sustain an injury from doing so, which in turn may cause fault by the employer.
Preventing These Serious Injuries
The National Safety Council has made repeated efforts in ensuring worker’s safety in the workplace. This is why, each year, they make an annual observance of this common type of injury to inform workers on how they can be prevented. Some of the most common ways to prevent overexertion are these ways:
- Stretching or warming up before heavy lifting
- Lifting with your legs bent
- Avoiding bending, reaching, or twisting
- Asking a friend for help when lifting
What To Do After You Have Sustained an Injury
When you have sustained an injury due to overexertion, you may wonder what steps you can take. These injuries can often be so serious that they cause you to lose days or months at work, or could impair you on a certain level for the rest of your life. After you have received one of these injuries, it is most crucial for you to receive medical attention. After this, your case may go in many different directions. However, you should always report the incident to your boss, file a claim for worker’s compensation if applicable, and file a lawsuit for compensation. In many cases, an investigation will take place if the situation calls for it. No matter what you decide to do, you should have an attorney on your side through the process – so call us today for more information. We will help you every step of the way!