Overexertion in the Workplace

Whether it happens at work or on the golf course, overexertion continues to be a leading cause of injury over all age groups.

According to the National Safety Council, overexertion was the second leading reason (after falls) that adults age 25-64 ended up in emergency departments in 2013, and the third leading cause for kids ages 10 and older, often from too-heavy backpacks, computers and gaming, and poor posture.

Ergonomic injuries are disorders of the soft tissue, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs caused by:

  • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching;
  • Repetitive motion;
  • Working in awkward positions;
  • Sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time;
  • Using excessive force;
  • Vibration, resting on sharp corners or edges; and
  • Temperature extremes

Whether you become injured on an assembly line or typing on a computer, playing video games or helping someone move, it’s important to know the signs. Ergonomic injury is cumulative. Symptoms can include everything from posture problems and intermittent discomfort, to tendonitis, chronic pain, and disability.

Overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries and is, by far, the largest contributor to workers’ compensation costs – more than $15 billion, or 25% of the total cost in 2012, according to Injury Facts 2016®. It also is the #1 reason for lost work days.

More than 322,00 people missed work that year due to overexertion. Here are some injury statistics by industry for 2014:

  • Construction – 19,070
  • Manufacturing – 46,040
  • Wholesale trade – 21,100
  • Retail trade – 42,720
  • Transportation and warehousing – 38,960
  • Professional and business services – 23,410
  • Education and health services – 68,720
  • Government – 72,050