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Repetitive strain injuries among U.S. postal workers

The surge in online shopping has brought thousands of more packages through the doors of the U.S. Postal Service, meaning – in some cases – more job security, but also a potential for an increase in repetitive strain injuries. Lifting, sorting, bending and reaching for packages that may weigh 50 pounds or more can take a toll on the human body.

Due to the physical demands of their job, postal workers may be overcome by exhaustion and fatigue, especially with an understaffed workplace. It’s not only postal clerks susceptible to lower back pain, musculoskeletal injuries, sprains and strains, but package deliverers and mail truck drivers, too.

Fifty-pound bags of dog food and furniture parts are common packages that flow through post offices, and they’re not easy to lift. And those overwhelming number of packages aren’t about to let up. Last year, package volume at the post office grew by 589 million pieces. That same year, 5.7 billion packages comprised about 28 percent of the postal service’s revenue.

Guidelines to prevent injuries

The result? More injuries at work. That’s why it’s important to do your utmost to avoid repetitive strain injuries. Here are some guidelines for any worker who lifts heavy objects in the workplace:

  • Bend your knees. By doing this, you will limit the strain on your back.
  • When lifting heavy objects, work with a team. Don’t go it alone or use a cart or a dolly to move it.
  • Wear proper footwear that has a good thick sole and consider adding insoles. A good shoe may help you avoid a slip-and-fall injury.
  • Daily and nightly stretching exercises will help, too. Doing so may strengthen your back, make your muscles more flexible and prevent injury.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. This can help you stay in good condition and prepare you for any additional physical on-the-job challenges.

Repetitive motion injuries are more common than you think, especially in the workplace. By being prepared and doing some physical preparation beforehand, you may be able to prevent serious injury.

 

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