How to Prevent Strains and Sprains at Work
Sprains and strains are the leading injury category in the manufacturing environment and are considered some of the most common types of workplace injuries.
These are not life-threatening injuries but cannot be ignored either, or else they will leave a severe impact on the workers or employees.
Strains are the top accident category in the manufacturing industry, according to worker’s compensation data.
Strain and sprain injuries account for 41% of all injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The nature of all these injuries leads workers to take several days off work, which in turn can cause issues for companies in terms of finances and employee efficiency.
This blog post is a thorough guide on what are sprains and strains, how they occur, and how to prevent such health and safety risks in the workplace.
What are Sprains & Strains?
Sprain injuries are ligament damage – the tissues that connect two or more bones at a joint. In a sprain, one or more ligament is damaged, stretched, or torn.
Strain injuries are issues to muscles or tendons – the tissues that connect muscles and bones. A muscle or tendon is stretched or torn in strain injuries.
Major Causes of Sprains & Strains at Work
Sprain or strain injuries could occur immediately or develop over time. The causes of these injuries are divided into two major categories.
Ergonomic/Workplace Risk Factors
The ergonomics or workplace risk factors include:
Some work tasks are repetitive and require hourly or daily work involvement. These activities when combined with risk factors can result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Improper working posture is also a significant reason for getting strains or sprains. Poor posture puts force on joints which could increase the risk of MSDs
Other environmental factors also play a vital role like slips, trips, or fall injuries, that could increase the risk.
Individual Risk Factors
Individual risk factors involve the followings:
Poor Work Practices
Poor work practices including body mechanics, improper lifting, loading, or handling techniques can also contribute to the risk. Workers who do not pay attention to these small adjustments and implement safe work practices get strains and sprains
Health habits are also one factor that cannot be ignored when identifying the root cause of the problem. Individuals with poor health habits like smoking, drinking, and obesity are more likely to put themselves in danger. These issues not only seem to increase the risk of MSDs but also shorten the life span.
Neglecting Early Signs & Symptoms
Prevention is better than cure is true when it comes to identifying the early signs of strain or sprain injuries. This is one thing individuals need to be proactive about. They should immediately report any unusual behavior to their health managers or regularly visit a doctor if they develop any symptoms to prevent the problem.
A Proactive Approach to Prevent Strains & Sprains at Work
Along with the common causes of the injuries, managers, and supervisors need to have effective approaches to minimize strains and sprains at work.
Some of these are:
Engineering controls like eliminating the risks of poor posture, and improper workplace setting, and making adjustments to improve ergonomics can help accomplish health and safety goals at work.
Active involvement of employers and manager in preventing the health risks of their workers not only create a safe workplace but also increases workers’ productivity and performance.
Education, Training & Guidance
Proper guidance, information, and training. Employees should be trained on all aspects of performance including workplace setting, ergonomics, or injuries associated with a particular task.
The common yet vital training employers can provide their staff is display screen work training, manual handling training, and workplace stress training.
If an employee is working from home, the supervisors must provide them adequate home working training to set up their home offices effectively.
Other training options employers and managers can provide are violence and aggression training, harassment training, health and safety in offices training, and other related courses.
These essential training sessions will help create a safe and secure environment for everyone to live and work in.
Preventing staff’s health and safety are the utmost responsibilities of every organization, workplace, or business to ensure they have a good standing within their sector.
Employers need to account for numerous accidents, injuries, and ill health issues when it comes to protecting their workforce.
Strain and sprain injuries are the common yet significant cause of costly injuries. If ignored, they can result in chronic ailments.
Therefore, employers, managers, and supervisors must have effective and proactive approaches to avoid these incidents in their workplaces and so this post has covered some of these.
Identifying the root cause of the problem is the first step in making improvements toward a safer workplace and making small adjustments accordingly can help prevent major issues.
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