Overexertion injuries are among the most common workplace injuries in the United States.
In fact, the National Safety Council recently estimated that overexertion injuries account for approximately 25% of all injuries in the U.S. workplace.
What Are Overexertion Injuries?
An overexertion injury occurs when a workload exceeds the limits of the individual performing the task. This may result in a tear or stretch of a person's tendons, ligaments, and muscles, resulting in strains and sprains in different body parts, such as the neck, knees, shoulders, and wrists.
These kinds of injuries are triggered by either acute causes or repetitive motion, including carrying, lifting, pulling or pushing heavy objects, or performing work in awkward positions. The pain linked with overexertion injuries can be acute, but should lessen after a certain amount of time and medical care.
Workers who are already in poor physical health or advanced in age tend to be at greater risk for overexertion injuries. Regardless, if these workers sustain an overexertion injury on the job, they are entitled to the full amount of available workers' compensation benefits, same as any other worker.
It is crucial that you be aware of the symptoms of overexertion in order to avoid an injury. These may include:
- Loss of breath or speech failure - A physically overexerting person will normally be out of breath and unable to speak. While carrying out work-related tasks like lifting, workers should ensure that they are not breathing hard. Take a break and relax if you are having difficulty breathing.
- Feeling dehydrated - Dizziness, scant urine, muscle cramps, and dry mouth are all signs of dehydration, which is usually the result of overexertion.
- Joint/Muscle pain and fatigue - Overexertion can result in a range of chronic injuries like tendonitis and stress fractures. Aching and soreness in muscles or joints may be precursors to an overexertion injury. It is thus critical to discontinue an activity temporarily if you start noticing any pain.
Jobs With a High Risk for Overexertion Injury
Any job that calls for manual labor can lead to an overexertion injury, regardless of the level of physical activity. However, there are certain workers who are at higher risk for overexertion injuries, including:
- Factory workers
- Utility employees
- Construction workers
- Home and medical care workers
Overexertion impacts people on varying levels, though a majority of related injuries include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Shoulder injuries
- Joint and tendon injuries
- Arm injuries
- Leg or knee injuries
- Foot injuries
Workers' Compensation for Overexertion Injuries
Workers' compensation benefits exist under state law in order to protect injured workers. If a worker sustains an injury due to overexertion, they may qualify for a variety of workers' compensation benefits, including paid medical care, temporary disability and permanency disability.
If you have sustained an overexertion injury on the job, notify your employer immediately and seek medical attention. Then, contact an experienced NJ workers' compensation attorney to learn your rights and options. A workers' compensation lawyer can put you on equal ground with the workers' compensation insurance company, and help you receive the benefits you deserve.