Holiday Tips: How To Combat Overexertion

Holiday Tips: How To Combat Overexertion

Each year, overexertion accounts for roughly 30% of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses. But what exactly does overexertion mean? What kind of injuries does that include and how can you work more safely?

What is Overexertion?

Many specific injuries can fall under this category, but there are two main types of overexertion events that result in injuries or illnesses: Those from excessive physical effort and those from repetitive motions.

Injuries resulting from physical effort typically come from actions such as lifting, carrying, or pulling and pushing. Lifting especially is an activity that many workers underestimate as a potential danger, or they overestimate their ability to easily and safely carry a heavy load.

Both OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offer their own guidelines for manually handling material, but these can be summarized in a few basic steps:

These all may seem like obvious tips but with more than 321,000 injuries and illnesses resulting from lifting and lowering in 2021 and 2022, it is important for all employees to think twice about how they move materials and objects while on the job.

The other common type of overexertion injury happens due to repetitive motions. This can include everything from repeated bending or kneeling to common microtasks such as typing or using a small handheld tool.

Tendinitis (or tendonitis) and bursitis are the repetitive motion injuries that people are likely most familiar with. The causes, and symptoms, of both injuries are similar, and it can be hard to tell the difference between the two. Carpal tunnel syndrome is another injury that is incredibly common, but one that has longer-lasting effects.

While these types of injuries occur in much lower numbers — just 2.4% of all injuries and illnesses in 2021 and 2022 — workers should be aware of ways they can protect themselves from getting sidelined because of these common, everyday tasks.

Tips for avoiding repetitive-motion injuries include:

Remember, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the workplace is “free from serious recognized hazards.” Make sure your supervisor is aware of any concerns you may have and work to find a solution that makes sense for both you and the company.

Stay Mentally Alert

During the winter holidays, many people across America take some time off work, giving themselves an often much-needed break. It is important that all employees know how to combat mental fatigue in order to stay alert and prevent physical exhaustion. You may not think there is much correlation between the two, but many studies have proven this to be the case.

Here are a few tips for getting your energy back:

Make Sure All Workers Are Safe

Overexertion injuries can occur in practically any job, but some of the most affected industries are, perhaps unsurprisingly, construction and manufacturing. These industries accounted for more than 1 out of every 4 occupational injuries and made up over 40% of all repetitive motion injuries.

For these job sites in particular, workers need to be aware of the major hazards they might encounter and ways to avoid the most common injuries. However, no matter what industry you work in or what type of employees you oversee, it is crucial that all employees receive full — and effective — training.

Online training can help your workforce get caught up on regulatory training requirements and focus on specific workplace dangers without requiring large numbers of employees to congregate in one area.

A major benefit of online training is that it can be completed by employees at any location. Whether you have an office employee taking the course on a desktop computer, an oil worker going through training on a tablet while on the rig, or your workforce is separated between the office and their homes, online courses make training fully accessible.

As we head into the new year, now is an ideal time to review your current training program and adjust as needed to fit the new normal we are all now experiencing. Contact HSI today to see how we can help you get started.

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