We have spent a lot of time talking about athletes and the injuries they suffer, but there is one group of athletes we have yet to talk about: industrial athletes. Industrial athletes are people who work in physically demanding jobs, and injuries are just as devastating to industrial athletes as sports athletes, because their livelihood depends on them being physically able to perform their jobs.
Types of Industrial Athletes
Here are some common types of industrial athletes and the hazards they face that can lead to injury:
- Factory/Industrial. Factory and industrial workers are on their feet on hard surfaces, like concrete, for the majority of their workday. This alone can lead to fatigue and injury. Many forms of factory work is very labor intensive around heavy machinery, so over-exertion and work accidents account for injury as well.
- Manual Laborers. As with factory and industrial workers, manual laborers (construction workers, landscapers, etc.) are on their feet most of the day. They also frequently lift heavy loads and perform strenuous tasks that can lead to injury.
- Mail/Package Delivery Drivers. Carrying heavy boxes up and down flights of stairs all day, every day can have dire effects on employees of the postal industry. Muscle strains and fall injuries are a constant threat to the unwary package delivery driver.
- Office Workers. Working in an office is not as physically demanding as other jobs, but typing on a keyboard and sitting in one spot for hours on end can lead to chronic pain and injury.
Common Injuries Among Industrial Athletes
Like sports athletes, overuse and not listening to their bodies is a major cause of injury in industrial athletes. Workers ignore minor aches and pains because they don’t want to take off work for fear of lost wages. Listed below are the most common injuries faced by industrial athletes:
- Sprains and strains. Sprains and strains of joints and tendons are the most common types of injuries suffered by industrial athletes, regardless of the job. Falls, over extension and overuse are the leading causes for these injuries. Stretching, strength exercises and taking breaks will help reduce the risk for these injuries.
- Leg and joint injuries. Standing in one spot on an assembly line all day long can affect the feet, legs and back and eventually lead to soft tissue damage or other injuries. Sit breaks, stretches or walking around to get the blood flowing will help reduce fatigue.
- Neck and back injuries. Whether sitting, standing or delivering packages all day long, poor posture can have devastating effects on a person’s ability to do their job. Strength exercises for the neck and back and practicing proper form for repetitive tasks will reduce posture-related injuries.
Since there are many similarities between the injuries faced by industrial and sports athletes, the treatment methods are the same. And, the most important and effective treatment is injury prevention; stretching, rest and proper posture are chief among the plethora of injury prevention tips for everyone. Many employers are also hiring athletic trainers and physical therapists to diagnose and treat minor aches and pains before they become a bigger issue. Some employers are even integrating calisthenics into the workday to increase range of motion and strength and reduce worker injury.
Companies that take a proactive approach to injury prevention are seeing marked declines in employee sick days and insurance claims. However, if an injury does occur, treatments like A.R.T., acupuncture and massage will get workers back on their feet in no time.Tweet