Common Carolina Workplace Injuries and Causes

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. However, we often think of dangers in terms of large, single-event catastrophes, where a worker was healthy on his or her way to work and ended up in the hospital by day’s end. However, many of the job injuries and illnesses result from long-term work involving repetitive tasks.

wristpain.jpgFor example, carpal tunnel syndrome is normally the result of performing repetitive tasks during a long period of time and is not the result of a single workplace accident.

According to a recent news article from Owatonna People’s Press, certain types of work environments are more likely to lead to workplace injuries than others. However, there are certain steps that can be taken at most workplaces to prevent on-the-job injury and illness.

One of the first things an employer can do is to assess the workplace for potential causes on of the on-the-job injury. Since many workers’ compensation claims involve repetitive stress injuries, as our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys see on a routine basis, allowing and encouraging employees the time to take a short break and stretch while performing repetitive tasks can significantly reduce the frequency of injury. This is true not only of injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, but also back injuries and neck injuries, which are fairly common on-the-job injuries.

Having a work area setup that does not adhere to best ergonomic practices can also lead to more frequent injury. There are a variety of things employers are doing, from putting treadmills in a “Take 10” room, to having desks and workstations that can adjust in height to vary a worker’s position. Contrary to some advice, standing all day is no better than sitting all day. In reality, having a varied work position throughout the day is now believed to be most helpful in preventing injury.

Since the average work supervisor is not a specialist in preventing employee injury, it may be worth the expense (and much cheaper in the long run) for an employer to hire an occupational therapist to inspect the workplace and point out what issues he or she identifies during the inspection.

Some of the most common recommendations following an inspection are to get padded mats to place on the floor where worker is standing for long periods of time, such as at a cash register, providing step stools for employees who need to reach higher objects and encouraging their use by all employees, using mechanical lifts whenever possible to assist workers in lifting heavy objects, and using headphones instead of standard telephone receivers, because the use of a handheld device often leads to neck injury.

In a factory setting, many employers believe having the traditional assembly line setup originally created by Henry Ford is the most efficient way to operate. While having each individual employee only focusing on a single task can speed up production, when that worker is missing shifts due to on-the-job injury, the profitability may not be as high as originally thought. For that reason, it is a better practice to train employees on a variety of tasks and rotate the workforce to cut down on repetitive stress injuries.

If you have been injured at work in North Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Does Your Workplace Cause You Pain?, June5, 2015, Owatonna People’ ress

More Blog Entries:

Bike v. Johnson & Johnson Health Care – Workers’ Comp Benefits in Spite of Underlying Injury, March 28, 2015, Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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