How to Prevent Overexertion Injuries at the Workplace

Lately, we have been discussing the most common causes of workplace injuries. This time, we have prepared an overview of the impact of work related injuries caused by overexertion in the US as well as provide you some useful recommendations to help you to reduce these incidents at your workplace.

Overexertion occurs when employees exceed physical strength when lifting, pushing, carrying or repetitive movements while performing their job. Other causes that can increase potential overexertion injuries include working in awkward postures, working under extreme temperature conditions and unanticipated muscle loading.

Injuries due to overexertion commonly result in strains or sprains to the muscles, tendons and ligaments such as back, neck, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries. However, when these types of injuries are severe, they can result in broken bones, hernias, heart disease and even death. 

Most recent data from the NSC shows that overexertion is the leading cause of non-fatal injuries. In 2018, nearly 283,000 workers were injured by overexertion and bodily reaction in the US. The main industries with higher risk for overexertion injuries are educational and health services (60,000 injured workers); retail trade (almost 42,800); transporting and warehousing (almost 39,500); and wholesale trade (18,540).

As we know, workplace incidents represent a high impact for organizations in many ways. The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index shows that injuries resulted by overexertion involving outside sources cost $13.11 billion while other exertions and bodily reactions accounted for $3.69 billion in the US.

But there are other costs associated with overexertion injuries. For instance, the NSC says that sprains and strains injuries caused by overexertion is the main common workplace injury resulting in time missed from work. Additionally, it’s common that these injuries can negatively affect employees' productivity and performance.

Preventing overexertion injuries at your workplace

Identifying particular risk factors associated with overexertion injuries is a key element for their mitigation. We share some tips that you can place to improve safety at your workplace:

  • Plan the job to reduce forceful exertions. Depending on the industry's activities and needs, design safe tasks by assessing how much an employee needs to lift and carry, in what way is it going to be done, if it’s necessary to use mechanical assistance or what kind of tools and equipment can be used to avoid high exertion.
  • Provide proper training. It’s necessary that your employees know adequate techniques and practices for carrying and lifting materials and objects in order to do their job safely and prevent damages to muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  • Allow your employees to take breaks. Promote a healthy safety culture by encouraging your employees to take breaks to stretch, recover or hydrate during their job. Also, encourage them to report symptoms early due to overexertion such as dizziness, muscle spasms, fatigue or any pain and discomfort.
  • Provide good work environment conditions. In order to minimize the need for twisting, bending and reaching, make sure to provide a comfortable and adequate space in good conditions for employees to do their job in a good position.

  • Maximizing response time and containing escalation is critical for preventing workplace incidents that put at risk employees’ safety and health such as injuries caused by overexertion and bodily reaction. Kwema helps companies to prepare to respond to any emergency by providing safety wearables to employees who are exposed to potential risks and hazards at their workplace. When employees are in danger, they can activate an emergency protocol alerting safety supervisors or 911. Moreover, our technology is designed to avoid adoption hurdles and training costs.

    Watch how Kwema is disrupting workplace safety



    Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

    How can you prevent sprains and strains in the workplace?

    What is an overexertion injury?

    What causes overexertion?

    How can sprains be prevented?

    What are signs of overexertion?



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