Insurance Insights

Manufacturing – Target on Safety

Understanding Repetitive Motion Injuries is the First Step to Preventing Them

Repetitive motion injuries are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons caused by performing the same motion over and over again. Also known as repetitive stress injuries, they occur most commonly in the hands, fingers, thumbs, and wrists, but can also happen in the back, neck, knees and feet.

The pain associated with a repetitive motion injury may be isolated to one spot or it may migrate from place to place. It might be a burning pain, a sharp stabbing pain or a dull ache that does not go away.

The Basics of Repetitive Motion Injuries

If you bend a piece of wire back and forth, eventually it will break. Why? Metal fatigue causes the wire to wear down until it breaks. Our bodies are no different. When fatigued for extended periods, they eventually begin to break down, causing pain and sometimes ultimately lost time at work.

Give Muscle Groups a Rest

To reduce or eliminate repetitive injuries, we have to take steps to prevent them in the first place. This starts with reducing the number of repetitive motion activities at work. Should the onset of an injury occur, it’s important to give muscle groups a chance to rest. Does this mean taking more breaks? Not necessarily. It means that after doing one type of motion (such as wrist twisting when using a screwdriver) for a long period, switch to another job that does not use that same muscle group. Employers may want to consider rotating jobs among co-workers.

Simple Steps to Avoid Muscle Stress

Maintaining flexibility is crucial, as there is real value in practicing basic stretching exercises for hands and wrists, as well as the back and neck. Taking breaks at regular intervals gives you a chance to rest and stretch your muscles. If you are sitting, stand up and stretch. If you have been standing for long periods, sit down and stretch your back. These simple remedies can go a very long way in eliminating or reducing pain.

The Importance of Communication

If you have workstation design issues that need reviewing, remember to bring this information to your supervisor’s attention so action can be taken. The bottom line – listen to your body. If you are experiencing aches and pains, your body may be telling you something. Since repetitive motion injuries are invisible, small injuries can go unnoticed until a more serious soft-tissue injury occurs. For this reason, worker-employer communication is essential.

VTC Insurance Group is committed to helping employers reduce or eliminate injuries to workers. To learn more, contact a VTC agent near you, give us a call, or visit vtcins.com.

This flyer is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

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