As a worker, you have a right to feel safe on the job. But even with the tightest adherence to regulations and the best prevention measures in place, work-related injuries still sometimes happen. Some of these injuries are more common than others -- but how can you practice prevention if you don’t know what to watch out for?
At OAA Orthopedic Specialists, our Work Injury Center is dedicated to helping both workers and employers navigate the world of workers’ compensation, and ultimately helping workers return to the job with safety and confidence. Here are the three most common work-related injuries every employee should be aware of:
1. Repetitive Motion Strain
Repetitive motion is an unavoidable part of all kinds of labor, from office work to factory work. But without the appropriate amount of prevention or rest, repetitive motion can easily lead to strain on the muscles and tendons. Your hands and wrists are especially at risk for this type of injury, and because repetition is involved in actions from using a keyboard to wielding a power tool, a wide variety of workers can be affected. These types of injuries may seem fairly low-impact, but it’s important to prevent them if you can and receive treatment as soon as possible -- they can eventually develop into serious conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome that may require surgery to correct.
2. Slips, Trips and Falls
Slipping, tripping and falling are some of the most well-known workplace hazards, and many regulations put forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are in place with the intention of preventing these incidents. That’s because even the most seemingly innocuous fall can end up doing serious damage to your body, particularly in the following areas:
- Twisted knees
- Twisted ankles
- Pulled muscles in the back
- Neck strain
- Muscle tears
- And more.
To avoid these types of injuries, always be sure to stay aware of your surroundings while at work. If you see a potential tripping hazard, don’t stay silent! Go to your employer as soon as you can to get the problem taken care of before you or someone you work with gets hurt.
3. Overexertion Injuries
While each of these three types of workplace injuries has shown to be quite common, there’s one that tops the list. According to the National Safety Council, injuries that occur due to overexertion are the most common workplace injuries, making up 35% of all reported work injuries in the United States and resulting in almost as many missed workdays as the common cold. Most overexertion injuries affect the muscles in your back, and can lead to chronic and debilitating pain that may require extensive treatment (or, in some cases, surgery). However, any muscle can become damaged due to overwork. Workers who are most at risk for overexertion injuries include those that consistently perform heavy lifting tasks, such as delivery professionals and construction workers. That said, even office workers can potentially sustain an overexertion injury from sitting in an improper position or using unsuitable desks and chairs.
The common denominator between all of these work-related injuries is that without proper treatment -- and sometimes, without cooperation from employers in making the necessary changes to the work environment -- they can all progress into more serious conditions that result in more pain, longer recovery, and more time missed from work. If you’re experiencing pain, loss of mobility, or other symptoms of a work-related injury, don’t wait. Alert your employer as soon as possible, and call the Work Injury Center at OAA to receive your first exam.
If you’ve been injured on the job, OAA’s Work Injury Center is here to help you navigate the workers’ compensation process and make a rapid, successful return to work. If you’re ready to start living pain-free, schedule an appointment with us today!