What Is Overexertion
Physical overexertion occurs after repetitive motions as well as when lifting, pushing and pulling heavy objects. This can either be due to bad posture, improper execution, or moving objects that are heavier than your body can handle, or when the same activity or motion is repeated over some time. The pain from these injuries are acute and are generally treatable. However, they can still be quite debilitating.
Impact of Overexertion
Overexertion is the most common workplace injuries and is, in fact, one of the leading contributor of worker compensation — about $15 Billion in a year, in the US alone according to the National Safety Council. The NSC has also stated that overexertion accounts to 33.54% of workplace injuries and can affect workers in all industries, from construction and manufacturing, education and health services, to wholesale and retail trade, and transportation and warehousing. Hospitals treated over 3.1 Billion overexertion injuries back in 2014, and the numbers have only increased through time. As such, we’ll be taking a look at ways your company can prevent these types of injuries:
One of the most common reasons for overexertion is due to lack of training in posture and proper execution of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Most of the time, those that work in warehouses, docks, and industries that deal with heavy equipment, materials, and storage aren’t provided with the proper training for lifting. It’s necessary for you to teach both newly-hired and current staff on the proper way of manually lifting, pushing, and managing heavy loads and in handling heavy equipment. Additionally, it’s important for your company to set a maximum size, weight, and frequency on items and tasks requiring manual lifting. You should also be strict with regards to wearing safety equipment and proper clothing, as clothing that is too tight can restrict movements and lead to bad posture and/or execution.
Provide Tools and Vehicles
One of the best ways your company can help prevent overexertion is by investing in tools and vehicles that can assist or do the heavy lifting. You can invest in hand trucks, lifting/moving straps, forklifts, and forklift attachments such as a forward bin tipper. These won’t only help your workforce prevent injuries, but they’ll be able to make operations faster and more efficient. Additionally, you should also provide safety equipment such as gloves with good grips to make manual lifting easier, safer, and more comfortable.
Invest in Ergonomics
Overexertion can also affect your workers at the office. As such, it would be ideal to invest in ergonomic office equipment such as chairs, computer tables, and keyboards to prevent overexertion injuries from repetitive motion.
Allow for Short Breaks
After manually lifting, pushing, pulling, and/or transporting heavy objects, it’s important that you allow your workers to take short breaks in between to allow their muscles to recover — this would have them regain strength and prevent injuries.
You should always encourage or allow workers to have an open line communication with their supervisors or managers, just in case they start feeling any issues such as pain, swelling, loss of strength, in order to address possible overexertion injuries before they worsen.
Overexertion won’t only affect your workers’ health and quality of life but can be quite detrimental to your company as a whole with the temporary loss in the workforce and the compensation. Luckily, as common and as easy it is to be afflicted with overexertion injuries, we can see here that there are many possible ways for these to be minimised or altogether avoided.