Reducing Sprains and Strains
Sprains and Strains or Musculoskeletal Injuries (MSDs) are some of the most common injuries for workers, particularly in industries where repetitive manual tasks like lifting and kneeling are required. In construction, manufacturing, cleaning services, health care etc. Industries most everyday tasks require workers to lift and move loads, bend, kneel or manoeuvre heavy and large equipment increasing the likelihood of a sprain or strain whilst performing those tasks.
In Australia up to 10% of injury claims are knee related, and up to 38% of injury claims are back related.
According to Safework Australia, 43% of all serious work-related injury claims were sprains and strains.
The knees and Back are bade up of a complex system of bones, ligaments fluids and tissue and repetitive impact and stress can cause different types of injuries. Knee and Back injuries are different from other injuries because they accumulate over time through repetitive tasks and may not be apparent instantly. OHS professionals and Employers can through the hierarchy of controls, eliminate the requirement for manual lifting and bending tasks by reorganising work to reduce physical effort needed. Alternatively the use of machinery , lift assists and ergonomic tools an equipment can further reduce the strain on a workers body. Education particularly to young workers about correct lifting techniques, and the dangers of repetitive manual tasks can increase worker awareness of the problem.
However in several industries and day to day tasks, manual lifting or kneeling is unavoidable. To remove any residual risk, ergonomically designed PPE like knee pads, kneeling pads and back support belts can provide, cushioning, support and also serve as a reminder to use correct manual work techniques to bend, lift or kneel.