Whether your patient’s workplace is a dangerous construction zone or in a cushy corner office; there are ways that folks will find ways to get injured while on the clock. As long as people are working, workplace injuries will occur. Accidents and injuries can potentially harm more than the workers themselves,too–it can absolutely devastate entire businesses and families. Luckily for the physical therapy business, there’s always going to be a market for employees with injuries to keep our appointment books filled. In 2013, over 3 million workplace-related injuries and illnesses were reported. (In other words about 3 out of every 100 workers somehow got hurt at work.) While we’re sure you’ve got a wide variety of people walking into your office, below we’re going to take a look at the most common workplace injuries.
Therapy professionals benefit from being able to provide preventative and rehabilitation practices to Americans. However, it is not only a therapy professional’s duty to help an injured worker, but it is also necessary to give them advice on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
The Most Common Workplace Injuries Physical Therapists See
As a physical therapist, you’re not always going to be working with athletic injuries. In fact, it’s more likely that sprained ankle patient comes from missing a step on a ladder or tripping over their desk trash can. Below we’ll take a look at some of the most common workplace injuries that you can expect.
Slips, Trips, & Falls
An unsuspecting employee may slip on a banana peel like old-school cartoons and slide themselves right into your physical therapy office. Bad lighting, slippery floors, loose flooring, and badly place objects can cause a worker to take a tumble. That’s why trips, slips, and falls are some of the most common workplace injuries. Physical therapists are always there to rehabilitate injured workers so that they can heal and return back to work. (Clumsy workers are a gold mine for the rehab services racket.)
What to tell a patient to prevent future injuries: stay alert, keep workspace organized and clutter free, & make sure that management uses correct signage to indicate slippery floors. Follow these simple steps and they hopefully won’t need to make any more visits.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
As unlikely as it seems to get hurt while sitting at a computer for a living, it actually happens quite a lot. Prolonged periods of keyboard use can cause fixed motion injuries to employees. Physical therapists can help their muscles, joints, and tendons heal.
What to tell a patient to prevent future injuries: encourage an employer to allow breaks when needed, make sure that you’re working with proper ergonomically equipment (chairs, desks, posture, etc. ), & reduce the frequency of activity if possible.
The UPS guy has lifted one too many boxes and his spinal alignment has decided to get out of whack. This guy in the brown uniform may need physical care because he can’t just quit because his back did. That’s where the chiropractor or physical therapist needs to step in. Alternatively, someone may suffer from back pains from prolonged time sitting at a desk. Overexertion, heavy lifting, long periods of static posture, fatigue, and chronic muscle stretching can cause musculoskeletal injuries at work. They may require massage therapy or spinal alignment. Back injuries are easily one of the most common workplace injuries. Luckily, they can be prevented by taking things slow and being mindful of how your body works.
What to tell a patient to prevent future injuries: make sure to lift the right way (i.e. “lift with your legs; not with your back!), maintain flexibility, and change positions frequently.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
For employees in the transport industry or who have to operate any sort of mechanical vehicle at work, motor vehicle accidents are the biggest concern. Whether it be the fault of the worker driving, a pedestrian, or another motorist; accidents can and will happen. Physical therapists can help workers harmed in vehicular accidents by restoring physical function and movement.
What to tell a patient to prevent future injuries: perhaps taking a safety course or by encouraging management to enforce better safety policies at their work. If they’re working in construction or another labor job, there are often safety certification courses they can look into as well.
What are the most common workplace injuries that you usually see? Comment below! Also, if you’re looking for a new allied health career, check out the thousands we have available!