According to statistics, overexertion consistently ranks as the leading cause of workplace injuries. Overexertion can occur in any profession, regardless of how often you “overexert” yourself, even with a simple desk job. In professions requiring physical labor, the chance of becoming overexerted increases. Avoiding these types of workplace injuries is sometimes impossible.
However, you can slightly reduce your chance by knowing your physical limitations. In any event, injuries happen every day in the workplace across the U.S. causing millions of workers to seek out medical assistance. Also, more times than not, these injuries lead to the inability to work and sometimes settlement for injuries.
Defining Workplace Overexertion
The word overexertion itself means excessive exertion which results in bodily discomfort or an injury. The “exertion” could be a direct result of excessive physical or mental energy used to get a job or task done. When overexertion occurs in the workplace, it could be a direct result of any type of excessive lifting, pulling, carrying, pushing, or holding.
Other types of injuries resulting from excessive exertion in the workplace include typing and simply working in awkward positions. Generally, immediately following an incident, pain is acute but then decreases later with medical attention and care.
In some cases, acute pain can lead to more problematic chronic pain. Examples include osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome (read our previous blog about repetitive stress injuries here). Some symptoms of overexertion include fatigue, dehydration, hypoglycemia, and/or physical pain.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), which are disorders affecting muscles, tendons, and nerves often times in the neck and back regions of the body, are generally caused by overexertion. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2011 that industries with the highest rates of MSD included: healthcare, retail and wholesale trade and construction, and transportation and warehousing.
Consequences of Being an Overexerted Worker
The consequences of becoming injured in the workplace depend upon the severity of the injury. Work-related injuries result in lost time at work and/or restricted time at work. Pain may be temporary or long-term resulting in the inability to work and perform normal daily tasks.
Cases involving long-term injuries may also involve the need for permanent disability and long-term workman’s compensation. And it’s only a matter of time before workman compensation cases become settled. The National Safety Council (NCS) cites physical overexertion in the workplace as the leading cause of workers compensation claims.
In 2014, these types of injuries represented 25% of the nation’s top 10 work hazards according to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety’s 2014 Workplace Safety Index. This report was based on Liberty Mutual’s worker’s compensation claims, along with the National Academy of Social Insurance and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To avoid workplace injuries, employers are encouraged to be responsible for ensuring that employees are provided with a safe and healthy workplace. Injuries can be greatly reduced with the implementation of ergonomics.
Key elements of ergonomics include: full-management support, adequate training, identifying potential problems, getting workers involved, and making sure that employees are working within their personal physical limitation limits.
How an Attorney Can Help with These Types of Cases
Individuals involved in workplace injuries should consult with an attorney as soon as possible, following an injury. An attorney can help you to establish a workman’s compensation claim and help make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. Without the assistance of an attorney, you may face difficulties and the possibility of receiving a settlement that’s below what you deserve for your pain and suffering.