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A closer look at the problem of overexertion

Workers across the board face high risks of straining or tearing muscles or ligaments at work. Manufacturers, construction workers and retail service workers usually face the highest chance of suffering strains or tears. However, in reality, any Illinois worker is in danger of these injuries. 

But what is causing these injuries? Since 2014, the answer to that question has been overexertion. 

What exactly is overexertion?

You probably know that overexertion occurs when you push yourself too far beyond your body's limits. The most common example is when individuals do not lift heavy objects properly and wind up straining their back muscles.

However, there are two primary factors when it comes to overexertion in the workplace:

  • Physical: The most well-known examples of overexertion are physical injuries. When individuals push themselves beyond their physical limits while lifting or engaging in other physical activities, they risk tearing or spraining muscles. 
  • Mental: This form of overexertion is lesser-known, but it is just as dangerous to workers. When employees work long shifts, this can result in mental and physical fatigue. When workers continue to work through fatigue and exhaustion, they can significantly increase their risk of suffering a serious injury, including those from physical overexertion. 

What reports say

Since 2014, overexertion injuries have been the top cause of severe work injuries according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index

The National Safety Council (NSC) agrees, reporting that more than 33% of workplace injuries are the result of overexertion. The NSC also indicates specific risk factors that increase the chances of overexertion, including:

  • Completing repetitive actions
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Working in unnatural positions

All three of these actions are common in many fields of employment. And that seems to be one of the reasons that so many employees seek workers' compensation for overexertion injuries.

Rest is necessary

You may not be able to avoid performing repetitive actions or working in unnatural positions at work. You also might not be able to avoid working long shifts. This is natural. All employees have deadlines and numbers to meet. 

Many reports say that ergonomics in the workplace can help workers avoid overexertion. That may be true, but the best thing that workers can do for themselves is to ensure they get the rest they need. That way, they can increase their alertness and their safety at work.

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