According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, overexertion is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries in the United States. Together, injuries resulting from overexertion factor into 31% of all workplace injuries, accounting for more than 280,000 injuries per year. What is tragic is that most overexertion injuries are preventable, given the right training, equipment, and oversight.
What is Overexertion?
Under the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ definition, overexertion refers to any injury that is the result of strenuous or repetitive activities. These include, but are not limited to:
- Muscle strain
- Bone fractures
- Repetitive motion injury
- Back or neck pain
- Wrist pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Heat exhaustion
What Causes Overexertion Injuries?
The one thing all overexertion injuries have in common is people engaging in activities that are beyond what their bodies can safely handle. This can come from lifting heavy objects, staying on your feet for too long, or even simply staying in the same place without moving for too long. Repetitive tasks, such as hammering or typing, can also result in overexertion injuries.
Who Can Get Hurt By Overexertion?
Construction and warehouse workers often suffer from overexertion due to constantly carrying heavy objects, or from working while in unusually hot or cold environments. Medical workers can injure themselves while carrying patients, or from working too long without breaks. Food service workers are often left in hot kitchens for long periods, putting them at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Office workers are also prone to this kind of injury, although they are more likely to suffer from not moving for prolonged periods of time, putting them at risk of pain from maintaining uncomfortable positions for prolonged periods of time.
Is Overexertion Really That Big of a Deal?
While these sorts of injuries often start as relatively minor, they can become aggravated if left untreated over time. In some cases, an overexertion injury can result in lost time at work, and can even become serious enough to require surgery. In addition, overexertion puts employees at a high risk of other types of workplace accidents, such as falling injuries or equipment-related injuries, which are potentially fatal.
How Can Overexertion Be Prevented?
The easiest way to prevent overexertion is to allow people to take sufficient breaks to rest, stretch, and do whatever they need to avoid injuring themselves. In jobs where heavy lifting is common, training people on how to best lift is crucial to avoiding muscle strain or sprains, and employers should make sure employees have access to lift aids and back braces that can reduce the risk of injury. In office environments, ergonomic furniture can help avoid back or neck pain, and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working on the job, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in construction site and other workplace accident cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City construction accident lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island construction accident lawyers call (516) 294-8282.