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Illinois Attorneys Discuss Dangers of Overexertion on the Job

Published on Mar 6, 2019 at 6:56 pm in Posts.

Some occupations require strenuous physical movements: lifting, pushing, pulling, and reaching. If you work in construction, manufacturing, or landscaping, exertion may simply be part of your job. In other occupations that require only some physical movements, workers may overexert themselves to get ahead or move up.

While many employees strive to be safe at work, little consideration is often given to their physical well-being. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), overexertion is responsible for 35 percent of all work-related injuries and the culprit behind the majority of workers’ compensation claims.

In 2014, more than 322,000 employees missed work because of overexertion – with the majority being government workers (72,050 employees who missed work days). In other occupations, those numbers were:

  • 68,720 education and health services workers
  • 46,040 manufacturing workers
  • 42,720 retail workers
  • 38,960 transportation and warehousing employees
  • 23,410 professional and business services employees
  • 21,100 wholesale trade employees
  • 19,070 construction workers


NSC attributes overexertion injuries to workplace ergonomics, which can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs.

Injuries related to ergonomics are often caused by:

  • Lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching to an excessive degree
  • Performing repetitive motions
  • Performing job functions in awkward positions
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Exerting excessive force when working
  • Vibrations
  • Sitting or resting on sharp surfaces
  • Extremely cold or hot temperatures

In order to prevent injuries caused by overexertion, NSC advises workers to exercise and stretch regularly. Before lifting an object, you should first ensure that your back is straight and you are lifting with your legs. You should also limit the amount of time spent on repetitive motions and take breaks from sustained positions every 20 to 30 minutes.

If you work in a stationary position, such as at a desk, you should make sure that materials are close by and easily accessible. It also helps to use a footrest or adjust the position of your computer.


If you notice that something isn’t right, it’s important that you take your injury seriously. Pain, swelling, numbness, and other symptoms of overexertion may be a sign of a serious injury. You should report your injury to your employer right away, then seek immediate medical attention.

If you have sustained an injury on the job due to overexertion, it’s critical that your rights are upheld. Not only may you be faced with expensive medical bills, you may not be able to perform your job functions until you make a full recovery. Your expenses should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. However, the claims process isn’t as easy as you think.

An attorney at Schweickert & Ganassin LLP can help you navigate the process and negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement. Don’t wait! Contact us today to discuss your legal options.

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