Just before Labor Day, U.S. Healthworks, an operator of 208 medical centers nationwide that treat industrial injuries released its list of top workplace injuries. The most common type of injury was the back injury. There were nearly two times as many back injuries as finger cuts, which are the second type of injury. Next in line were shoulder sprains, sprained necks, and injuries to the legs and knees. These injuries are covered by worker’s compensation.
Rather than waiting to get injured, there are preventative measures workers can take to avoid certain injuries, particularly back injuries and cuts. Among lifestyle changes that can be made as a preventative measure against back injury are stopping smoking, avoiding stress, sleeping in improper positions and losing weight if you are obese. Weight-loss exercise may help on the last point because additional weight adds stress to the back of an overweight person.
The Mayo Clinic also advises there are three major reasons for bank pain at work: force, repetition and posture. If you exert too much force by lifting heavy objects, this can cause injury. You should be careful to learn to lift objects properly, particularly if you work in a job that requires repetitive lifting. You should use your core, lifting with your knees, not with your back. If you need to ask for help, ask for help rather than lift an object that is too heavy for you.
Similarly, if you repeat the same motions over and over, you can develop an injury. This type of injury is common in industries that require you to spend lots of hours at a computer. You should position your computer, mouse and chair so that they are optimal for working. Hunching over a computer is not good for the back. Similarly, those that work in an assembly line should take care not to stoop over the assembly line and to take breaks from whatever activity they perform on the line. It’s not always necessary to rest — rather it’s important to vary the activity so that the muscles get a chance to move in other ways and don’t get strained performing the same action over and over.
Slouching or poor posture can also position your back in ways that are not optimal to avoid muscle fatigue. You should practice good posture no matter what your activity.
Prevention of the other kinds of injuries is also possible. However, many preventative measures are industry-specific. For example, for food service workers, it is important to learn appropriate knife safety measures. In 2009, almost 13,600 restaurant workers lost one day of work due to a cut.
Often cuts occur because a worker is unaware of a knife —it may be sticking out of a dishwasher, or someone else may be holding it and forget its presence. Sometimes cutting gloves can help protect against sharp objects. Each member of the kitchen staff should have a pair of cutting gloves that fit properly. Knives should be sharpened regularly in a commercial kitchen. Dull blades slip more easily and can affect cutting accuracy, which can make a big difference during food prep.
Whatever your work injury, an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help you obtain benefits and advise you on next steps. Contact us by calling 800-367-0871 or using our online contact form.