Whether we work at an office or on a factory floor, the risk for injuries at work is as high as ever. In 2015, there were approximately 2.9 million non-fatal workplace accidents in the United States (via the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Whatever your job, there are inherent risks involved. Here are three of the most common work injuries and how to avoid them.
1) In 2016, overexertion was the leading cause of injury in the workplace. This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects (via Liberty Mutual). One way to prevent this type of injury is by remembering proper body mechanics. When grabbing an object from overhead or carrying an object, keep your arms close to your body to better support the weight. Recall that the body reacts in a ripple effect: what you do to one part of your body affects another.
When you go to lift the object, stand over it to get a good base of support before trying to pick it up. You want your legs to be hip-width apart before squatting down and picking up the object. Problems can occur when your legs are too narrow and your mechanics for your hips and knees get out of whack and cannot articulate correctly.
2) Slipping and falling is a risk whether you work outdoors in construction or just trip in your heels on the office linoleum. Remember, when lifting an object, keeping your feet hip width apart provides the most balance and support. And if you do happen to slip, there is an easier chance or being able to steady yourself before you take a fall.
Another factor to decrease the chance of falling is core stabilization, as a chiropractor Gaithersburg MD relies on can explain. A strong core helps you have better control with all types of movements, because to it allows the body to become more stable. For example: a football player or wrestler is about to be taken down to the floor. What do they do to try to prevent it? They widen their stance and get ready for the impact. The same principle applies.
3) Picking up heavy objects with improper body mechanics can lead to low back pain or even strained muscles. An important preventative measure? Again, core stabilization exercises are essential. This can range from practicing good posture at your desk to doing squats in the proper form. Core strength and stabilization will offer proper alignment to your back, so you can properly lift items without injury.
Try this: Set a timer at your desk and practice sitting up correctly for 3 minutes. Then, after the three minutes, stand up and practice holding your core tight along with proper posture in your shoulders.
With these tips, you can begin strengthening your body and learning proper body mechanics. Plus, you can avoid injuries in the workplace and have a better quality of life.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Advanced Spine & Wellness Center for their insight into work injuries.