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Prevent Injuries From Repetitive Tasks

Many labor-based jobs require repetitive tasks that can lead to repetitive strain/stress injuries. These are injuries that affect your muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and other soft tissues and happen because of consistent and repetitive motion. Doing the same job day in and day out puts strain on the muscles that you use to do that job. After a long time, this strain can cause some serious problems including chronic injuries.

The good news is that you can implement systems of prevention at your company to mitigate this risk. By making some changes at the top, you can help prevent repetitive strain injuries for your workers. Not only will making these changes improve the daily lives and health of your employees, it will in turn improve your operation’s productivity. Happier, healthier workers do better work, after all. Here are the changes you can make:

  1. Redesign the job.

    Make sure that a job doesn’t involve one repetitive task day in and day out. Keep the employee in mind when designing operations. Job stations should allow workers to sit as well as stand. They should switch up the movement or task that the worker is doing whenever possible, and they should match the specific worker’s capabilities.

  2. Provide the proper PPE.

    The proper gear is essential not only for safety, but for long-term health. Making sure that employees have access to proper footwear, for example, for those workers who spend long hours of their workday standing or walking will not only help them be more comfortable during their shift, but it will provide long-term results such as helping prevent knee and leg injuries.

  3. Provide Training & Education.

    Let employees know that repetitive strain injuries exist, and tell them what they can do about it. Include in your safety training how to recognize early symptoms of these injuries and allot time for breaks in the workday—and encourage workers to take them. Teach them how to avoid these injuries in the first place. The longer a worker performs a repetitive task, the higher risk they are at to develop an injury, so make sure that each employee knows the importance of things like PPE and proper rest.

For other tips, contact your local OSHA office.

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