A 2007 study by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group found that overexertion, the act of working beyond one’s physical capabilities, is the number one cause of workplace injury nationwide. Injuries due to overexertion make up 25.7% of all workers’ compensation claims. Overexertion injuries are very common in construction work. They account for approximately 24% of all construction-related injuries.
Overexertion is an event or exposure that leads to injury due to excessive physical effort such as lifting, pulling, pushing, turning, wielding, holding, carrying or throwing. An overexertion injury occurs when a worker becomes excessively tired or when a worker performs a job he does have adequate physical strength to complete. Workers may also suffer overexertion injuries when they have not been trained in how to safely complete a job or perform a job for too long.
Construction workers and carpenters who handle drywall, rebar, cement and other heavy materials are at an especially high risk for overexertion injuries because these building materials are so heavy and bulky and because they are likely to work past the point of exhaustion. When muscles become tired, muscular capacity is greatly reduced and the worker is at risk for injury, even if he was perfectly fine doing the job earlier in the day. Frequent rest breaks can help prevent overexertion.
Workers who are overexerted are especially likely to strain and sprain muscles and sustain injuries to the back, shoulders and abdomen.
Five tips for avoiding overexertion injury while working on a construction site:
1. Have cranes, forklifts, hand trucks, carts or dollies available to move heavy supplies around the worksite.
2. Bend the knees instead of the back when lifting, holding or carrying heavy materials.
3. Use PVC-dot grip gloves to reduce the grip force needed to lift, carry and hold materials.
4. Get help when something is too heavy.
5. Take breaks when needed
If you do sustain an overexertion injury, seek medical attention immediately. Treatment usually involves rest and medication for pain and swelling. Untreated injuries can become permanent disabilities, so make sure to follow the doctor’s treatment plan. Your injuries should be covered under worker’s compensation.
If you have been injured in a construction site accident in Kansas or Missouri, download our free book “10 Essential Steps You Must Take to Protect Your Injury Claim: How You Can Escape the Personal Injury Trap.” The book provides great advice for getting the most out of your construction injury claim. If you need help or have any questions, contact the Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. We can help you.