Workplace injuries can be caused by both trauma and overuse, akin to on the sportsfield. Bad posture, repetitive stress and heavy lifting can contribute to injury. Whether you work in an office or in the ‘great outdoors’ there will be risks involved. When steps are in place to minimise the incidence of workplace injury, alongside dedicated treatment paths for victims recovering from workplace injury, a healthy workforce is possible.
Common workplace injuries
Most people spend around half their waking life at work, or involved in work related activities, so it’s no surprise that injuries occur. In fact, most work-related accidents that involve slips, trips or strains could just as easily happen at home. Other major culprits of workplace injury include improper handling of large or heavy objects and repetitive tasks. Common workplace injuries include:
- Slipping/Tripping – Usually due to wet floors, spills and unseen objects
- Overuse Injuries – Often related to lifting, carrying, pushing, throwing and other strong muscle and spinal movements
- Falling – Tumbling from ladders, tripping down stairways and falling from elevated platforms or unstable heights are all too common occurrences
- Repetitive Motion Injuries – Very common in the modern office environment, where improper computer use can put strain on muscles and tendons.
Many workplace injuries can be avoided, and most can be treated by a qualified healthcare practitioner or Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician. In fact, many workplace accidents result in similar injury symptoms as those found in sports injuries. Understanding the requirements and demands of the task and how to rehabilitate the body to be able to tolerate that activity are key aspects of the successful treatment process.
Avoiding workplace injury
It’s in the best interest of the employer to create a safe and secure work environment. An unsettled workplace due to staff injury can be unproductive. This potential loss of income can be avoided, but a safe working environment takes team effort. Here are some simple changes that can make a big difference:
- Use ergonomic principles to provide support, comfort and proper function of the workspace
- Take regular breaks to relieve strain caused by overexertion
- Adjust the workload schedules where necessary
- Never lift, carry or try to move objects that are too heavy
- Warm-up and stretch before commencing manual work
- Exercise and maintain good general health
- Monitor potential hazards and risks in the workplace
Our Sports and Exercise Medicine Physicians are familiar with the causes and treatments of workplace injuries. Many components of biomechanical assessment, diagnosis and rehabilitation are as applicable to the workplace as they are to the sports field.