Each year, the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission tracks worker’s compensation claims throughout the state. This agency helps Illinois workers receive the benefits they deserve, especially if an employee and an employer cannot reach a resolution on the case.
The 2018 annual report shows that the Elgin area typically sees between 500 and 550 new worker’s compensation claims each year. Many of those are likely due to construction site injuries, given the large number of people involved in that sometimes-risky industry in the Chicagoland area. But it is safe to say that the majority of them also handle overexertion injuries. For the past five years, overexertion has been the leading cause of Illinois worker’s compensation claims. More than 14,000 Illinois residents suffer from some form of overexertion in the workplace each year.
Overexertion refers to many different workplace injuries, including:
- Repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle strains
- Back injuries
For many employees, the pain from this type of injury can make simple tasks like typing or picking up a package unbearable.
Causes of overexertion
Almost every employee has some risk of an overexertion injury. Most commonly, these issues stem from moving heavy items (over 50 pounds), prolonged repetitive motion such as typing, sitting with poor posture, using work or broken office furniture or even absorbing vibration from heavy machinery over a long period.
Help prevent overexertion
Overexertion injuries do not just have to be a part of life for Illinois workers.
Some measures that can help protect employees from overexertion are:
- Using appropriate lifting techniques
- Ensuring adequate breaks for difficult physical tasks
- Updating office furniture and supplies with more ergonomic items
- Practicing good posture while sitting and standing
If an injury does occur, Illinois employees have options. While overexertion injuries typically do not cause employees to miss multiple days of work, worker’s compensation can still cover the cost of medical care related to the injury.