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Employers can lessen seasonal workers’ risk of injury

With the winter holidays less than three months away, many companies are starting the process of hiring seasonal workers. Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx need extra drivers to deliver packages. So does Amazon, which often uses its own drivers behind the wheel of Amazon Prime vans. Large retailers like Target and Walmart also need seasonal workers in their warehouses and stores.

Many of these jobs involve lifting, bending carrying, packing and other repetitive motions which can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Seasonal workers are often especially prone to suffer these injuries because they don’t do the job year-round. They also may not get sufficient training to bend and move properly to minimize the risk of injuries.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a third of injuries that resulted in workers requiring time off work occurred within their first year at a job. Almost a quarter of those people had to take at least a month off work.

This loss of work hurts not just the employee who may have taken on a second or even third job over the holidays to earn some extra money. It also hurts the company that is now out a worker at the busiest time of the year.

That’s why it’s best for everyone when employers provide all employees (including seasonal workers) with training in the proper way to move as they perform the tasks required of them. NASA scientists have determined that a person’s brain needs 30 consecutive days of performing a particular activity to allow someone to form a new habit. It’s no wonder that people’s first weeks on the job can be the most dangerous.

The pressure, particularly as the holidays get closer, to deliver a large number of packages in a short amount of time can also cause workers to overexert themselves. Further, as we noted in a recent post regarding Amazon, the commitment to one- and two-day delivery times can cause drivers to skip breaks and drive recklessly.

If you suffer an injury on the job, regardless of the cause, it’s essential to make sure that you get the compensation and benefits you need and deserve until you can return to work. If you have questions or concerns, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help.

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