In certain jobs, employees are vulnerable to repetitive motion or movements that put continuous stress on the body. Although the employer has a responsibility to create a safe work environment, employees can also advocate for themselves and listen to their bodies to protect against work injuries and associated pain.
The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that in the United States, musculoskeletal disorders account for 600,000 injuries and illnesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor linked musculoskeletal injuries with 34 percent of all lost workdays. This is also costly to employers, an estimated $20 billion each year goes toward costs related to musculoskeletal disorders.
When employees request better equipment, ergonomic workstations, or other accommodations that could help them avoid injuries, employers have incentives. A musculoskeletal injury can impede a worker’s ability to do simple self-care tasks, causing higher employee turnover rates. Employers must consider the alternatives if they decide not to provide ergonomic equipment.
How Can Employees Proactively Prevent Injuries?
Employees can be proactive when trying to avoid injuries. Here are some steps that employees can take on their own while working:
Employees should always be aware of their bodies. If they find that they are having the beginning signs of pain, even if it is slight, employees should know that this could turn into more serious ailments. When discomfort begins, employees should take that as a sign to take a break, stretch, or change up the activity if it is possible.
Employees should always lift properly. If employees are in a position where they do a lot of lifting, they should become educated about the best way to lift. Employees must know that using leg muscles instead of lower back muscles benefits the body. Bending legs when lifting is always preferable. Watching videos on proper lifting techniques and having a partner observe a lifting technique will help a worker better understand what they can do to protect their health.
Notice and modify repetitive tasks when it is possible. Workers may not always realize that they are doing repetitive tasks. Office workers may not realize that sitting in front of a computer and typing all day can be repetitive. Holding a phone between the head and the shoulder can also become a repetitive task. If workers have the ability to change up the activity or request ergonomic devices, they should do so.
Remember that posture matters. Whether sitting or standing, employees must be aware of their posture. Often, people think about posture while sitting, but standing posture is also important.
What Should I Do if I am Having Work-Related Pain?
If a worker is having pain and they suspect they are injured, it is important to seek medical attention. A professional can determine if one has a work-related injury. After seeing a doctor, an injured worker should see an attorney about filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Help Workers with Repetitive Motion Injuries
If you have a work injury, you might be eligible for compensation. Our Chester County worker’s compensation lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC can help you with your case. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.