Sprains and strains, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems, are the most common work-related injuries. They occur in all industries and for numerous reasons, such as:
- Performing new tasks using old methods;
- Improper, inadequate, or nonexistent training;
- Repetitive, forceful, awkward, or prolonged movements;
- Heavy or frequent lifting, pushing, or pulling; and
- Carrying heavy objects.
How Can I Avoid a Sprain or Strain?
Accident prevention should be a workplace priority. Employers can take certain steps to implement accident prevention programs to decrease the number of strains and sprains in the workplace. Additionally, your employer is in the position to study how your job fits your needs (this understanding is also known as ergonomics). Some methods for improving employee health and safety include:
- Continuously analyzing the worksite for possible ergonomic hazards;
- Developing methods to control ergonomic hazards by altering equipment, the environment, and work patterns;
- Teaching employees proper lifting, pushing, and pulling techniques; and
- Engaging in effective and appropriate training.
What Can I Do If I Suffered a Sprain or Strain at Work?
Bringing your concerns to the attention of your co-workers, union, or employer may lead to improved work conditions. If the situation remains unchanged and problematic, you should consider talking with an attorney who is familiar with employment regulations and laws. Because even minor sprains and strains can develop into serious injuries, you should also consult a medical professional to discuss the extent of your problem and the recovery process. Your personal safety and health should not be compromised by your employment.
Can My Employer Be Held Responsible for My Sprain or Strain?
In many cases, your sprain or strain will be covered by workers compensation. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established guidelines for workplace ergonomics and:
- Provides assistance to businesses which proactively address work-related ergonomics;
- Conducts workplace inspections;
- Distributes ergonomic hazard letters where appropriate; and
- Issues citations when these federal regulations are not enforced.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Discussing your work-related health and safety questions and concerns with an employment lawyer may be extremely beneficial. Also, a workers compensation attorney will be able to offer you the necessary support and guidance if you decide to take legal action against your employer for your sprain or strain.