Workplace injuries are something that we all strive to avoid. Not only do they slow work to a grinding halt but, far more seriously, they can have lasting negative health impacts on the people that suffer from them. Unfortunately, although everyone tries to avoid injuries, some jobs are simply more prone to them than others.
Warehouse workers and hands-on labor jobs are some of the professions that are most at risk of injuries in the workplace. Broadly, these are intensive positions that require a great deal of strain on the body. Although many people in these professions intend for them to be long-lasting careers, without proper care significant injuries are bound to happen.
Fortunately, there are things that professionals in these fields can do to help reduce the likelihood of injuries beyond simply following the worker safety guidelines. There are several self-care routines out there that can help the body build greater resilience to the workloads.
These personal physical preparations can be incorporated at any point in someone’s career whether that is in a preventative manner before injuries happen when pain has already begun, or after a serious workplace injury.
There is no doubt that the best way to deal with workplace injuries is to keep them from happening in the first place. Many company leaders will tell their employees that if they follow the safety protocols, written procedures, and injury reporting that all safety goals will be maintained. Of course, these protocols help, but they may not be enough for long-term injury prevention.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but stretching is one of the best ways that we can protect our bodies from strain during day-to-day workplace activities. Though the act of stretching in and of itself won’t necessarily prevent injuries from happening, it can make your body more resilient to injury. Regular stretching routines will increase your range of motion, improve flexibility, increase circulation, and strengthen posture, all of which are important components of self-maintenance for injury prevention.
Getting quality sleep and coming to work well-rested are other important ways to reduce the likelihood of injury in the workplace. Numerous research studies indicate that tired, unrested employees are significantly more likely to be involved in a workplace accident. In fact, annually, sleep-related workplace accidents and mistakes cost companies upwards of $31 billion.
Reduce Pain And Loosen Up The Body
One of the biggest causes of long-term injuries in the warehouse or hands-on labor workplaces is repetitive motion strains. Repetitive strain injuries are those that are caused by the gradual buildup of damage to muscles, tendons, or nerves as a result of daily repetitive motions.
The activities can be small things like grasping tools or working on an assembly line that don’t seem like they’d cause much damage until the same motion has been happening an entire workday, week, or eventually career.
Even amid chronic pain, some things can be done to help prevent injury. Certain exercises can target and build strength in areas of the body that are the most prone to injury. For example, isometric lunges can help build strength in the knee that will lead to better management of knee joint pain in the long term.
Another means of reducing pain in the workplace is to focus on completing all of the heavy lifting and repetitive activities ergonomically. This involves keeping the objects that need to be maneuvered within the ‘lift zone’ which is between the knees and shoulders.
For objects lower than that, it is important to bend the knees to pick up the item rather than bending over to avoid back strain. Likewise, for higher-up objects, using a ladder rather than reaching can protect the body and reduce strain.
Recovering After An Injury
Unfortunately, even with all the best precautions some workplace accidents are still bound to happen. No matter the significance of the injury, it is important to take the necessary time to recover.
Going back to work too soon can exacerbate injuries or cause them to not heal properly. This leads to more downtime and more serious health concerns later in life.
For some injuries, it will be worthwhile to go to physical therapy. Doing so can help get your body healing on the right track and set you up with a set of exercises designed to help build strength and retain range of motion after an injury. Skipping physical therapy can be linked to chronic pain after an injury or never feeling like something healed completely.
Once you do return to work, it is important to make sure that you’re not harming yourself by diving back in too quickly. Listen to what the doctor has recommended and, if necessary, ask for written light duty requirements for a certain period. This can help your body recover while still getting you back to work.
Warehouse and other hands-on labor jobs are hard on the body and the risk of strains is high. Taking measures to help your body become more resilient to injury such as stretching, exercising, and using ergonomic movements can make a real difference in long-term health.