As Labor Day Approaches, Make Your Labor More Safe: Tips for Avoiding Common Workplace Injuries
U.S. HealthWorks, a leading national operator of medical centers to treat on-the-job injuries, today released its annual list of top workplace injuries – with tips to avoid them.
At the top spot: back injuries, with more than twice as many back injuries as the No. 2 injury — finger cuts, followed by shoulder sprains, sprained necks and leg/knee injuries.
U.S. HealthWorks, which operates 208 centers and work sites around the country, developed the injury ranking based on patient visits – more than 12,000 patients come to the centers every day.
“Labor Day is a great day to celebrate the achievements of American workers,” said Dr. Leonard M. Okun, National Medical Director for U.S. HealthWorks. “But too often workers are injured in situations where the injuries could be easily avoided.”
“Back injuries remain the most common of industrial injuries,” Dr. Okun said. “The back is a great system of muscle and bone that can create tremendous force and withstand considerable abuse. However, when back injuries do occur they can be physically and emotionally debilitating – and often require drastic measures to heal.”
Back injuries frequently take place on the job and aren’t exclusive to just outdoor workers. Injuries are also common for office workers, often due to improper setup of the work station or not lifting properly. The lower back is the most common site of back injuries and back pain.
U.S. HealthWorks provides the ”right care, right away” to help employees recover from injuries so they can return to their jobs or work in modified assignments. U.S. HealthWorks also provides pre-employment screening to ensure that job candidates can do the work and works with employers to properly design work stations to reduce the risk of injuries.
To avoid back injuries and other common neck, leg and knee strains, U.S. HealthWorks doctors recommend:
• Morning stretching exercises, about 5 minutes.
• Learn proper lifting techniques, including:
1. Stand close to the load with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Squat down keeping your back in neutral posture.
3. Get a firm close grasp of the object before beginning the lift.
4. Lift with your legs and in a smooth manner.
• When possible, divide up loads to be lifted to ease the strain on your back.
For office workers, make sure your work station is situated to help your back, including:
• Sitting in chairs with straight backs or low-back support.
• If possible, keep your knees a bit higher than your hips by adjusting your seat or using a low stool to prop up your feet.
• If you’re standing for long periods, try resting one foot on a low stool to relieve pressure on your lower back. At 5 to 15 minute intervals, switch the foot you are resting on the stool.
Dr. Okun said workers can avoid cuts – the second most common injury – by taking greater care as they go about their jobs. Be aware of your surroundings and possible sharp objects and treat them with caution, as well as watching where you walk and spotting obstacles.
“We will never eliminate on-the-job injuries because accidents happen,” Dr. Okun said. “But taking precautions and analyzing situations carefully can help people avoid many of these common injuries.”