Why is it so difficult to take a break from work? Maybe employers hold their employees to high standards and urge them to meet specific productivity goals. Or, employees are passionate about their career and devote a considerable amount of time to their work.
While neither of these things is inherently negative, they can cause many problems for workers.
Insurance company report reveals causes of common work injuries
In April, Liberty Mutual Insurance released its Workplace Safety Index. The yearly report highlights the most common causes of disabling workplace injuries as well as the costs of these work injury claims.
According to the report, injuries caused by overexertion were the most common across the board for nearly all industries, but specifically for:
- Healthcare workers
- Retail workers
- Warehouse workers
- Wholesale workers
The report mainly highlighted physical injuries, such as muscle strains from consistently lifting loads that were too heavy. However, overexertion can also lead to physical and mental fatigue that can result in devastating workplace accidents.
In the U.S., overexertion has essentially become the norm
Unfortunately, the high rate of overexertion injuries likely occurs because overexertion is so prevalent across the country. According to Business Insider, work habits have changed drastically in the last ten years. And American employees are known for these habits across the globe, including:
- Working long hours and a lot of overtime
- Not taking advantage of vacation or leave
- Rarely taking breaks during the day
- Retiring later than we used to
The changing work culture has made overexertion a normal aspect of the workplace. And that is incredibly dangerous for all employees.
Resting is the key for all employees
While most employees can pursue workers' compensation benefits after suffering an overexertion injury in the workplace, there are ways they can prevent overexertion (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment § 9-602).
Employees can avoid overexertion injuries by:
- Realizing when they have reached their limit and should take a break
- Staying aware of their posture and stance at work
- Stretching before lifting heavy loads or engaging in physically straining work
- Following a regular sleep schedule to prepare properly for the workday
The best way to reduce the risk of overexertion is by resting. If employees take breaks when they need to during the workday and take the time to rest, they can stay one step ahead of overexertion injuries.