Why are workplace injuries so common?
The nature of work is that we are often required to complete the same task for hours. We can also find ourselves faced with time constraints and deadlines that lead to lazy postures and taking shortcuts, simply to get the job done.
How can they be prevented?
Workplace injuries can happen suddenly, through an accident like a fall or by lifting something too heavy, however, the vast majority of workplace injuries occur over time due to repetitive tasks. Often these conditions begin slowly and take many months to resolve. Here are a few tips to keep yourself pain free in the workplace.
It’s important to assess the risk before you start. Do you need to ask for help or use an assistive device? Your legs are the strongest part of your body and ideally, you should use them to power the movement, rather than your arms or back.
Bending and twisting when lifting is also a common mechanism for injury. It is much safer to lift, then step to turn before putting an object down again. Pushing is a much more efficient movement than pulling and is always preferable if you have a choice. Try to push at waist height and keep forces as close to your body as possible.
Overuse injuries can occur by using the same side of your body rather than alternating sides. Practise using both left and right hands for taking phone calls and mouse work.
Be aware of your posture. Good posture isn’t having a rigid and upright spine. It’s about being able to let your spine sit comfortably in its natural curves and be able to move in and out of this easily. Stretching can help to counteract positions you find yourself in for long periods.
Your physiotherapist is a great person to speak to about preventing injuries in your workplace.