There’s been an increase over the last several years in the number of jobs that require workers to sit for long periods of time. However, there are still plenty of workers in the U.S. whose jobs require a great deal of heavy lifting and strenuous physical labor.
If you work in construction, for example, you likely spend almost 91 percent of your day on your feet. Eighty-eight percent of laborers and freight movers are in the same position.
Do you have a physically demanding job? If so, then your injury risk is higher than that of sedentary workers.
Read on to learn about the types of injuries most often associated with labor-intensive jobs. You’ll also learn how you can avoid these injuries and recover from them.
Most Common Physical Labor Injuries
When you have a job that requires a great deal of physical labor, your risk of experiencing certain types of injuries goes up quite a bit. The following are some of the most common injuries you might experience or be susceptible to while at work:
Repetitive Motion Injuries
These kinds of injuries occur when you perform the same movement over and over again. For example, tightening screws all day long without taking adequate breaks could lead to wrist or hand pain or injuries.
As the name suggests, this kind of injury involves getting a limb (often a hand or arm) entangled in a machine or piece of equipment. These injuries can be very serious and may even be life-threatening.
If you spend a lot of time driving a vehicle, your risk of injury increases. The same goes for people who ride around on heavy pieces of equipment like tractors or lawnmowers.
If the area in which you work is cluttered and doesn’t have a clear walking path, it’s easy for you to accidentally walk into something. Often, walk-into injuries aren’t serious. Depending on the object with which you make contact, though, they could be.
Falling Object Injuries
People who work in construction or do other types of heavy labor are also susceptible to falling object injuries. This is why it’s important to wear protective headgear whenever you’re on the worksite.
Falling from Great Heights
In construction, as well as other labor-intensive jobs, it’s also possible to fall from great heights. These falls can result in fracture, internal organ damage, and even death in some cases.
These kinds of injuries include slips and trips that don’t result in a fall. Even if you don’t fall, you can still experience muscle trauma such as sprains or strains.
These are some of the most common injuries associated with physical labor. They might occur if you’re lifting something that’s too heavy or carrying something for too long without a break.
How to Prevent These Injuries
There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re doing hard labor. You can prevent a lot of these injuries, though, if you take the right precautions right from the start.
Listed below are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of experiencing a serious injury while at work:
You can avoid a lot of injuries if you take the time to educate yourself on the equipment you’re using and the protocols in place at your worksite.
When you first start a new job, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek proper training to ensure you know what you’re doing. This will also help you identify vulnerabilities and avoid accidents when using new equipment or taking on new jobs.
Use Protective Equipment
Make sure you wear proper protective gear while on the job, too. This might include protective gloves, appropriate head coverings, and shoes that protect and support your feet during long days.
Don’t Take Any Shortcuts
Avoid taking shortcuts when completing your work. Even if you’ve done a job a thousand times, you still need to follow proper protocol. Otherwise, you could end up injured or injuring someone else.
Inspect and Maintain Vehicles
If you have to drive vehicles or heavy equipment as part of your job, always inspect them before putting them to use. Make sure they’re properly maintained, too.
What to Do About Physical Labor Injuries
In a perfect world, laborers and their employers would take precautions to prevent injuries and they’d rarely if ever, happen. This isn’t a reality for a lot of workers, though.
Because of this, it’s important to be prepared so that, if you do experience one of the common physical labor injuries while on the job, you know how to handle it.
Here are some steps you should take if you experience a serious injury while on the job:
Seek First Aid
The first step is always to seek help for your injury. This might include telling someone to call 911 or find a first aid kit so you can bandage a wound.
Notify a Supervisor
Next, notify a supervisor, or have someone notify them for you. They need to know what’s going on as soon as possible to prevent other injuries from occurring.
Complete a Worker’s Compensation Claim
Once you’ve received medical attention, you’ll need to fill out a worker’s compensation claim. This will help you get the money you need to treat your injury and sustain yourself if you have to take time off of work.
Save Your Medical Records
Whether you’re dealing with construction injuries, oilfield injuries, or any other type of labor injuries, you need to hang onto all your medical records. They’ll help you back up your claim and ensure you’re compensated fairly.
Stay Safe out There
As you can see, there are a lot of ways in which you can get hurt while doing hard physical labor. The good news, though, is that there are also a lot of steps you can take to prevent these injuries from occurring.
If you’ve recently experienced an injury and need to treat it, or if you just want to stay safe and prevent one from happening in the future, keep this information in mind.
Don’t forget to check out our other health and fitness articles, either. You’ll find lots of information there that will help you stay safe and healthy on and off the job.