Kick Sprains and Strains in the Butt
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Over six million injuries occur in the workplace every year. One of the most common injury trends our staffing clients see are sprains and strains. These injuries often result from temporary employees being placed in new environments for which they may not be conditioned. Sprains and strains occur from lifting, being hit by fallen objects or even a simple misstep. Overusing muscles can also cause these injuries. But what exactly are sprains and strains?
Sprains of the fingers, wrists, knees and ankles are most common and occur when a ligament has been stretched too far from its normal position. Strains are the result of pulling too far on a muscle or by pulling a muscle in one direction while it is contracting. Strains can also be caused by repetitive movements that lead to an over-stretching of muscle fibers. To put it more simply, sprains are injuries to ligaments, whereas strains are injuries to muscles or tendons.
Tips for Prevention
- Reduce the number of injuries and workers’ compensation claims by sharing the following tips with your internal staff and temporary employees:
- Follow guidelines for safe lifting, especially if your position requires you to lift heavy items.
- If you’re lifting something particularly heavy, use extreme caution. When in doubt, ask for help with the lift.
- Reduce repetitive movements if possible; chronic strains are usually the result of overuse.
- Use proper form while completing tasks—extensive gripping can increase the risk of hand and forearm strains.
- Practice safety measures to help prevent falls. Avoid slippery surfaces, and always use harnesses and nets if applicable.
- Wear proper attire, including footwear, gloves, back belts and other applicable protective equipment.
- Maintain a healthy fitness level outside of work to keep your body strong and flexible.
- Stretch before you begin working, and take short breaks throughout the day to stretch and rebalance your body.
- Use proper ergonomics at a desk—sit with your feet on the floor and keep your arms at a 90-degree angle while typing to minimize overuse strain.
- Keep the floor and walkway around you clear of electrical, telephone and computer cables, boxes, etc. They are sprain and strain hazards waiting to happen.
- Watch out for slippery surfaces. Spilled drinks or water from umbrellas are typical hazards and need to be cleaned up/or identified immediately.
If you have any additional concerns about sprain or strain injury trends at your staffing organization, please contact us.
- Register for Back to Basics: Workers’ Compensation Seminar (7/30)
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