How to Prevent Workplace Injuries

By Chris Holcombe | Lead Physiologist at bēkn Stapleton

Work injuries happen. Unfortunately, they often happen unexpectedly and without any warning. These injuries can lead to medical bills, unforeseen (sometimes unpaid) time off work, and impact your ability to perform any number of tasks throughout your daily life. 

Although not all injuries can be avoided, regular exercise will help to prevent them by increasing your overall strength. 

The top 3 work-related injuries: 

  1. Slips, trips, and falls
  2. Muscle strains
  3. Repetitive strain injury 

The good news is that strengthening exercises will support your muscles, tendons, and general flexibility – which means putting you at a lower risk of compromising your physical health. This also means a lower risk of a work injury impacting your personal life as well. 

Let’s address each of these top work injuries one by one: 

Slips, Trips, and Falls. 

To prevent these kinds of injuries, stabilization is key. Stabilization exercises help with balance and coordination, but you will also benefit from improved posture and movement efficiency. 

A way that we show members how to perform stabilizing movements at bēkn, is by performing exercises on one leg or standing on an unstable platform (such as a BOSU ball) that you have to use your muscles to remain stable. Standing with two feet on the ground is significantly easier than standing on one foot at a time, and our muscles learn how to make small adjustments accordingly to build stability. 

Our movement testing at bēkn shows us in what areas your body is weak so that we can guide you with exercises that will help prevent these types of injuries. Balance is key in stabilization, and the better balance we have the less likely we are to fall. 

Muscle Strains. 

Muscle strains most commonly occur from not warming up properly, or in a work environment, jumping into a new movement too quickly. 

Drastically changing our movements, or beginning an activity too quickly makes us very prone to injury. The key to preventing a muscle strain injury is by warming up your muscles properly before performing any new movements. 

If you’re going from sitting at a desk to lifting heavy objects, your muscles are going from still and stiff to flexing and stretching. Before you move on to that next task, it’s important to do some movements like stretching, twisting, or bending to ensure you aren’t putting yourself at risk for a strain. 

Repetitive Strain Injury. 

Repetitive strain injuries occur because of general overuse. Our bodies weren’t built to do the same movements over and over again, however modern workplaces often force repetitive strain on the same muscle groups. 

For example, typing at a desk for 40 hours a week puts strain on your hands and wrists, and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Bending and lifting heavy objects all day can put strain on your back, pressure on your spine, and lead to injury. 

Our bodies are very efficient and if we use certain muscles over and over again they will get stronger. Unfortunately, if we favor the use of certain muscles over others, then other muscles will become weak and put us at risk of injury. 

At bēkn, we work with you to create customized and well-rounded workout routines to strengthen any weaknesses from repetitive stress or strain on the job. 

The bottom line

Work injuries happen but many of them can be prevented. Our bodies are amazing structures with millions of moving parts and systems that all work together. These systems function like a chain, if one area is weak our bodies try to balance it out in another way and often will overcompensate when there are weaknesses.

At bēkn, we use state-of-the-art fitness and movement testing to understand your unique body and set up a strengthening plan that works with your needs and goals. If an injury has already occurred, we set you up with a physical therapist – another piece of our all-inclusive membership

We also provide customized plans for employers and their employees to keep everyone healthy and happy. Ask your HR team about how your office can partner with bēkn with an all-encompassing wellness plan.

References:
https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/tools-resources/infographics/workplace-injuries
https://www.bytestart.co.uk/10-most-common-workplace-accidents-injuries.html

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