"The most common workplace injuries involve muscle strains, often when workers perform a new task, or perform an old task in a new way," says William W. Greaves, MD, MSPH, chairman and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
"Just as athletes must condition themselves to physical activities, workers must also gradually condition themselves to the tasks of their jobs."
Musculoskeletal disorders are common throughout various work environments.These disorders include conditions that involve nerves, tendons, muscles, bones and supporting structures such as spinal discs.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH), repetitive, forceful or prolonged exertions of the hands; frequent or heavy lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying of heavy objects; prolonged awkward postures; and vibration may contribute to work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
"The general principles to prevent any injury or illness at one's home also apply to the workplace," says Dr. Greaves
."Try to be more aware of where you are and what is around you.Don't make assumptions.For example, do not assume whatever equipment or materials you are working with are safe in the manner you are using them.Be sure you fully understand the job and all of the tasks related to it.If you don't know how something is supposed to be done, ask for instructions and take the time to learn how to do it the right way."
"Skin rashes from exposure to various materials and chemicals are also commonly seen," says Dr. Greaves
Know what you're working with and wear the recommended personal protective equipment for the task you are about to perform, such as gloves, goggles or ear plugs.Whenever you see a potentially hazardous situation, report or correct it before someone is injured.
Always follow proper procedures and safety policies.
"To prevent workplace injuries or harmful exposures, familiarize yourself with any potential hazards and think about how you can avoid them before you begin a task," Dr. Greaves
says."In addition, good personal health can reduce the potential for injury and its impact."
Sufficient sleep, regular exercise, maintaining your recommended weight, keeping a healthy diet, and wearing seatbelts will all help to keep you safe and healthy.Good public health principles are good workplace principles as well.
Work offers important benefits - social, financial and emotional - but a serious workplace injury can take it all away.