According to L&I data, Over-exertion claims represent about 37% of workers’ comp costs in retail, and the average cost per overexertion claim is a little over $11,500. Lifting boxes, especially automotive parts, is the most frequent cause of overexertion. Carrying was second, followed closely by pushing and pulling. The back was clearly the most frequently injured part of the body, with shoulder injuries a distant second.
Overexertion injuries generally fall into two categories: sprains, the stretching or tearing ligaments, and strains, the stretching or tearing tendons or muscles. These injuries are associated with lifting, repeated bending while twisting at the waist, long-term bending at the waist, pushing/pulling and carrying, reaching, and chronic poor posture.
To help prevent overexertion:
- Stretch and warm up before heavy lifting or strenuous activity
- Use hand trucks and carts as much as possible
- Lift with your legs bent and objects held close to your body
- Avoid bending, overreaching, and twisting when lifting
- Get help when lifting large or heavy items
To successfully reduce such injuries, management and employees must work collaboratively to identify and optimize tasks for efficiency and safety. To equip employees with skills and capabilities to perform their jobs safely and effectively, it is imperative to train them on proper posture, body mechanics, and ergonomics.
Regular assessments, feedback mechanisms, and proactive measures are essential to create a healthy and safe work environment that minimizes the risk of overexertion injuries.
Our safety team is available to help members take their safety to the next level. Contact us 360-943-9198 x122 or [email protected] to learn more.