Obviously, the ways of preventing injuries on the job are going to vary according to your job. Ideally, you work at a job where the worst injury you’ll ever have will come from overheated coffee. However, not all of us have that luxury. I tend to think that it’s more useful to actually group injuries according to categories. The most common injuries that happen at given jobs will be part of whole categories of personal injuries, which means that learning the right techniques will be able to help you prevent several personal injuries and not just a few.
Most personal injuries happen at work because of sheer physical exhaustion and overexertion. It’s pretty horrifying to think of how many different accidents and problems could be prevented from just allowing workers to take a break and ask for help, but therein lies the situation.
Whenever I’m in a position to be asked about what would be the quickest way to fix almost all work-related problems in the United States and lots of other countries, I always tell people: somehow find a way to allow everyone involved to get a full night’s sleep every single night. When I was a construction foreman, I’m pretty sure that getting six hours of sleep a night was a good day for me, and getting four hours of sleep per night wasn’t even a special day.
The thing is overexertion isn’t just caused by the fact that everyone is really tired and they’re basically primed to make all sorts of mistakes before they even walk in the door and start working, although that’s definitely part of the issue. They expect you to do way too much when you’re actually on the job. In construction, we had all sorts of deadlines in place for when our work had to get done, and we’re talking about work that demands a lot of little complicated steps and that can be foiled by a person tripping and falling and damaging some materials.
In 2010 alone, the United States spent 13.61 billion dollars on workplace injuries that can be attributed to overexertion. Too much throwing, lifting, carrying, holding, or pulling can really injure a person. Around 26.8 percent of workplace injuries fall into the overexertion category of workplace injuries.
I call also tell you from experience that just because you don’t get injured in a way that costs the company money, it doesn’t mean that your body is in great shape as a result of all of those hours and hours spent overexerting yourself in the construction field. I don’t care about how old I am: I know plenty of people my age and older who are in better shape than me, and it’s never surprising to learn that they chose a different line of work than I did and were able to do so.
You don’t have to live until retirement age to feel it in your bones, your muscles, and everywhere else, either. You’ll feel the effects of overexertion when you get home from work every day. All of those days will add up, and it isn’t true that it’s all just going to make you stronger and more muscular, regardless of what the popular stereotype says. Really, all of that tension and all of those problems are just going to add up, which is setting you up for the sort of injury on the job that is actually going to cost the company money. Typically, then and only then are they actually going to take any action at all. You’ll be wondering why they couldn’t just have done all of that a little earlier.
The solution to overexertion is usually as follows: get help. Get help from your construction crew members or your teammates. Get the assistance of a device: that’s what it’s there for, after all, and it’s the modern world. Don’t try to be a hero: they do things that require bold and temporary action, not things that require constant effort and dedication. If other people are criticizing you for it, don’t listen to them. You are all supposed to be a team, and that shouldn’t be a nominal distinction.
Sometimes, people fall victim to overexertion because they just don’t know the right techniques and they haven’t had the right training. Bosses need to take that into consideration when their employees are showing signs of overexertion. Working smarter and not harder is a good rule for all professions, and not just the professions that people think of as the ‘smart’ jobs.