Safety in the Workplace: Overuse Injuries

Safety in the Workplace: Overuse Injuries hover background

Apr 08


You may not realize it, but you could be at risk for overuse injuries in the workplace. Even if you sit at a desk day after day!  How? A condition known as Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS). OOS is a type of overuse injury common to hands, fingers, wrists and elbows caused by repetitive movements or improper postures. Bursitis, tendinitis, stress fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome are some of the more common overuse injuries.

What are High-Risk Jobs for Overuse Injuries?

If you work in a fixed or awkward position for long periods of time or use fast and repetitive movements, you could be at risk for on overuse injury. The conditions can affect anyone who works with their hands—think hairdressers and any job position that requires you to be at a computer for hours on end. Occupations at risk include:

  • Office work—typing and other clerical duties
  • Process work—packing or an assembly line
  • Piece work—such as sewing
  • Manual work—carpentry or bricklaying

What are the Risk Factors for Developing Overuse Injuries at Work?

Your daily work tasks and the way your workspace is set up plays a role in developing overuse injuries. Here are the risk factors:

  • not taking enough breaks
  • repetitive manual tasks
  • desks or workstations that are too low, too high or too far away from the body
  • chairs, tools or equipment that don’t fit comfortably to the body

Overuse Injuries—Common Symptoms

Any part of your body can be affected, but occupational overuse syndrome is usually associated with repetitive hand movements such as typing. Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Restricted joint mobility

Time for a Change: Make These Changes to Help Prevent Overuse Injuries

  • Use ergonomically designed furniture and equipment
  • Rearrange your workspace to keep all you need within easy reach
  • Schedule frequent breaks throughout the workday to get up, move around and stretch
  • Vary your tasks so that repetitive hand movements are alternated with other work
  • Set realistic deadlines

If you are experiencing pain or injury that may be due to overuse, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physical therapists at Above & Beyond.

Did you know that the average person spends up to 56 hours a week sitting at a desk? Combat a sedentary lifestyle with these daily tips!


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