Overexertion is a Common Cause of Work-Related Injuries
Claiming Full Benefits for Pennsylvania’s Injured Workers
When workers exert excessive physical effort or work beyond their capabilities, they may suffer injuries due to overexertion. Overexertion is the most common cause of workers’ compensation claims, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Injuries from overexertion are the cause of more than three million hospital visits per year and billions of dollars in workers’ compensation costs. Workers in any industry may experience overexertion, however workers in certain industries such as construction and warehousing are at higher risk due to the nature of their jobs.
Common Causes of Overexertion
Each person has a different limit of physical activity in which he or she can engage before suffering an overexertion injury. Excessive physical effort including forceful or rapid movements, awkward postures, bending, pulling, pushing, twisting or throwing can all lead to overexertion, especially when combined with other factors, including:
- Fatigue – When workers are fatigued, their muscular capacity is reduced, putting them at greater risk for an overexertion injury. Workers should therefore be encouraged to take frequent breaks, stretch their muscles and know their limits.
- Lack of ergonomic design – When a work station is not ergonomically designed, it causes workers to perform additional, unnecessary motions to complete their tasks. If workers are performing these same tasks over and over, they may suffer muscle strains and repetitive stress injuries.
- Improper training – Workers who are not properly trained are at higher risk for overexertion injuries. Employers should ensure that workers are informed of proper lifting techniques and other safety procedures that help to prevent workers from being overexerted.
- Nonroutine tasks – Sometimes, workers must perform tasks that are not part of their usual routine. These nonroutine tasks can lead to overexertion injuries because employers do not think it is practical to design the special equipment necessary for the one-time job.
- Extreme temperatures – Workers who are exposed to extreme temperatures may suffer overexertion injuries. High temperatures, improper ventilation and inadequate hydration can cause workers to pass out from heatstroke or suffer heat cramps or heat exhaustion. Cold environments can reduce blood flow and increase muscle tension, leaving workers more susceptible to muscle strain and other overexertion injuries.
Types of Overexertion Injuries
Depending on the type of overexertion injury a worker suffers, he or she may experience various symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, swelling, weakness, pain, burning, muscle spasms and loss of mobility. Some common types of overexertion injuries include:
- Back, neck, shoulder and abdomen injuries
- Heatstroke or heat exhaustion
- Inflammation and limited range of motion
- Joint, tendon and ligament injuries
- Muscle strains and tears
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Repetitive stress injuries
Preventing Overexertion Injuries
Most overexertion injuries are preventable through engineering controls and other safety measures. Automated material handling equipment, pneumatic lifts and overhead hoists can be implemented to reduce workers’ risk of injury in jobs that require heavy lifting. Employers can also determine the recommended weight limit for each job and reduce the amount of weight workers must lift.
Even workers who do not perform heavy lifting should be encouraged to take short, frequent breaks to prevent fatigue and improve productivity. When an overexertion injury does occur, it is important to document the circumstances surrounding the accident so that it may be prevented from occurring again in the future.
Workers’ Compensation for Overexertion Injuries
Most employees in Pennsylvania are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for their workplace injuries. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, workers who experience a workplace injury, or aggravation of a preexisting injury, may receive medical, wage loss and other workers’ compensation benefits. Workers who suffer overexertion injuries should report it to their employers immediately and speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Recover Compensation for Overexertion Injuries
If you sustained an overexertion injury at work, contact a skilled Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our experienced attorneys have handled all types of workers’ compensation claims for over 35 years. We offer comprehensive legal representation to injured workers in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. Complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW today to schedule a free consultation.
From our offices in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.