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Risk Management
Reducing Strain and Sprain Injuries
Georgia Department of Administrative Services
Risk Management Services
Loss Control Services
 Nationally, 39% of injuries are related to Strains and
 The #3 injury type and #3 injury type cost to the
State of Georgia.
 Slips, Trips, & Falls is #2. Many end up as strains
or sprains.
Parts of the body injured
- ,
Causes of Sprains & Strains?
• They are caused by excessive
reaching, bending, lifting,
gripping, squatting, or twisting of
hands, shoulders or body.
• Caused by any work performed
with high force, with many
repetitions, or in an awkward
Sprain or Strain?
Sprains occur when the ligament or joint is overstretched
or torn. Ligaments connect bone to bone, and stabilize
and support the body’s joints. Ankles (the most common),
wrists, and fingers are also targets of sprains. Injuries are
usually the result of acute overexerting.
Strain or Pulled Muscle occur when a muscle or tendon is
overstretched or torn. Tendons connect muscles to
bones. Generally sprains are not as serious as strains.
Risk Factors
Consider the following to reduce the risk of Strain &
Sprain Injuries:
 Time Frame
 Duration of exposure
 Frequency
 How often the motion is repeated
 Intensity
 Weight of items lifted and relocated
Sprain Treatment: R-I-C-E
RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. By following
this simple formula, you can avoid further injury and speed
 REST the injured area.
 ICE or cold packs should be applied immediately. Do this for
up to 48 to 72 hours after the injury. After 48-72 hours,
applying heat may bring additional relief.
 COMPRESS the area by wrapping it (not too tightly) with an
elastic wrap. Begin wrapping from the point farthest from the
heart and wrap toward the center of the body. Loosen the
bandage if it gets too tight.
 ELEVATE the injured area higher than the heart. Do this even
while you are applying the ice or cold pack as well as when
you sleep.
Break the Injury Cycle
Listening to your body can
prevent many injuries.
The Majority of Sprains are to the Back; so use
Proper Lifting Procedures.
 Plan the lift.
 Test load before lifting.
 Place feet shoulder - width apart close to object.
 Bend the knees.
 Get a secure grip.
 Lift with legs, keeping the back straight.
 Lift evenly and slowly; no jerky motions.
 Keep load as close to the body as possible.
Proper Lifting Procedures (continued)
 To change directions:
- Do not twist.
- Turn your feet in the direction of intended travel.
- Let your body follow your feet.
 When moving with a load:
- Keep it close to your body.
- Watch for slip and fall hazards.
- Ensure travel path is clear.
 To set a load down, follow steps in reverse.
 AVOID lifts from floor level if possible.
Power Zone and Help
The “Power/Safe Lifting Zone” is the area
between the knees and the chest.
 Keep materials to be lifted in the
“Power/Safe Lifting Zone” as much as
 Get HELP when needed.
 Use mechanical help whenever available.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
 Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), tendonitis, and
many of the ergonomic injuries result from straining
muscles or ligaments.
 Workplace set up for a person is the first step.
 Remember the rule of 90s for office operations
(knees at 90 degrees, back/legs at 90 degrees,
elbows at rest and at 90 degrees with arms).
 Job rotation is another method to reduce job stress.
 Take stretch breaks as needed.
 Exercise and stretch to help with blood flow and
keep muscles loose.
How Can We Prevent This?
• Although we cannot prevent all sprains and
strains from occurring, there are some tips on how
to avoid them:
Stretch before you work with
heavy items.
Use proper footwear for the
activity you are doing.
Warm up adequately before
Do not run on icy/uneven
How Can We Prevent This? (continued)
 Policies: Are the procedures and guidelines in
place communicated and supported/enforced?
Equipment & Tools
 Are workstations set up properly? Set up to fit the
worker and not to fit the worker to the machine.
 Is the job specific, clear, and documented?
 Hazard Awareness: Are hazards of the operation
communicated to employee? Does worker know
how to avoid strains and injuries?
Additional Tips on Avoiding Sprain Injuries
(resulting from Slips and Trips)
 While walking, mentally chart your path.
 Refrain from inattentiveness while walking i.e.
Texting, Talking on the phone, eating, reading,
 Maintain awareness of your surroundings. Avoid
floor/ground holes and depressions, loose
flooring, gravel walk and driveways, pits,
uncovered drains, poor drainage areas, wet
floors, puddles of liquids, loose carpets and mats,
raveled carpet, open file drawers, loose extension
cords/cables in the floor, etc.
 Walk in well lit areas.
 Use great caution when ascending/descending
steps. Again use the handrail.
 Do not carry loads that obstruct your view.
 There is no one solution to the problem.
 Job Safety Analysis may help identify possible solutions.
 Solutions need to fit the job.
 If it hurts, don’t do it!
 Planning can eliminate many of these hazards.
Contact Information:
Hiram S. Lagroon, BS
Chief Loss Control & Safety Officer
(404) 463-6309
[email protected]
C. G. Lawrence, III, CSP, REM, ARM-P
Chief Loss Control & Safety Officer
(404) 657-4457
[email protected]