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Report: Overexertion injuries cost employers $13.4 billion a year

According to a recently released report by the National Safety Council (NSC), overexertion injuries - including sprains, strains and other debilitating injuries - are now the third most common type of work injury, costing U.S. employers upwards of $13.4 billion a year.

The NSC's report indicated that most overexertion injuries are caused by employees exceeding their physical capabilities when attempting to lift, push, pull, carry or lower any job-related items and/or equipment.

Not surprisingly, the industries whose employees are identified in the report as being most susceptible to overexertion injuries include transportation (trucks), labor, nursing and moving.

Fortunately, the NSC - working in conjunction with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - offered employers a multipronged approach for tackling the problem of overexertion injuries: employee training and administrative actions.

In regard to employee training, the report recommends employees receive instruction on the following:

  • How to check a load's stability/weight before attempting to move it
  • How to properly utilize any and all mechanical lift devices
  • How to determine when a load is too heavy; requiring either multiple trips or help from a co-worker
  • How to properly lift any job-related items/equipment (lift with the legs, avoid sudden wrenching movements, etc.)

In regard to administrative actions, the report recommends employers perform the following tasks:

  • Coordinate placement of job-related items/equipment in order to eliminate any unnecessary lifting by employees and to shorten the distances that these items must be moved
  • Properly label heavy loads and, if necessary, divide them up into smaller, more manageable loads
  • Position loads so that employees do not have to reach high or low, rather place them in the so-called employee "power zone" meaning close to the body, above the knees and beneath the shoulders
  • Provide mechanical devices to prevent work injuries and help employees lift, push, pull, carry or lower any job-related items and/or equipment

Stay tuned for more in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Risk & Insurance "Safety council warns of overexertion injuries" August 1, 2011

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