When most people think about workplace injuries, they usually envision someone tripping and falling. What they don’t usually think about is someone tapping away at a keyboard or transporting boxes. But you’d be surprised by how dangerous these repetitive tasks can be!
In fact, repetitive motions are one of the top ten causes of workplace injuries. But despite being such a common source of injury, they’re something that’s often overlooked. Let’s look at what repetitive motion injuries are, what makes them so dangerous, and how to reduce repetitive motion injuries in the workplace.
What Are Repetitive Motion Injuries?
Repetitive motion injuries are any injury that’s caused by repetitive movements or overuse of certain muscles, nerves, ligaments, or tendons.
Think about it this way. You know how athletes and fitness fanatics rarely work the same part of their body multiple days in a row? That’s because their muscles need time to heal after they’ve been pushed to their limit. Muscles that aren’t given enough adequate time to rest are much more susceptible to injury.
Activities like moving boxes or organizing paperwork night not be as intense as performing a hundred squats in a row, but when you perform these activities frequently enough, the muscles you use in the process slowly wear down. And if you don’t give them a break, you could seriously hurt yourself!
And here’s where the problems arise. Most jobs require people to do the exact same thing every day. Receptionists are constantly taking phone calls, warehouses workers operate machines non-stop, and writers are always typing away. The weekend gives workers some time to relax and recuperate, but strained bodies often take more than two days to heal.
Are Repetitive Motion Injuries Really That Dangerous?
Luckily, most repetitive motion injuries are easily treatable and non-chronic. Common types of repetitive motion injuries include tendinitis, bursitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
But repeated strain can also lead to permanent damage of the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons.
How To Prevent Repetitive Motion Injuries in the Workplace
Here are a few ways to reduce repetitive motion injuries in the workplace.
Posture and Technique
A huge portion of repetitive motion injuries is caused by poor posture or poor technique. If you notice your employees are performing tasks incorrectly or sitting with poor posture, hold a meeting to go over good posture and correct techniques.
Do you run a warehouse or another industrial facility? See if you can automate basic repetitive tasks. Machines, unlike humans, don’t have muscles to strain! By automating simple tasks and processes, you can keep your employees safer.
A 3D bin picking system, for example, will eliminate the need for manual bin picking. Do you wrap things in your facility by hand? An automatic shrink or stretch wrapper will handle the most repetitive and menial steps of the wrapping process in lieu of your employees.
Encouraging your employees to take breaks when necessary will help keep repetitive motion injuries to a minimum. You should also encourage employees to seek healthcare when necessary.