While most of volunteers or members won’t be doing extremely physical labor for your organization, there are occasions where it can be helpful to think about overexertion prevention.

Overexertion can be caused by a variety of incidents—not just heavy lifting or manual labor. Overexertion can cause disorders of the soft tissue, specifically of the muscles, and may be caused by:

  • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching
  • Repetitive motion
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged period of time
  • Using excessive force
  • Temperature extremes

Your organization may host outdoor events like picnics or parades where volunteers or members may be exposed to extreme temperatures and long walks. Your organization may also do volunteer work that requires repetitive motions, working in awkward positions or sitting or standing for prolonged period.

Overexertion is, by far, the largest contributor to Workers’ Compensation claims. To avoid a Workers’ Compensation claim, consider implementing these overexertion prevention methods.

Overexertion Prevention

  • Limit the amount of time people spend doing the same motion repeatedly
  • Encourage breaks every 20-30 minutes
  • Provide plenty of water and snacks
  • Talk through tasks and ensure everyone feels comfortable doing them
  • Use professionals for high-risk tasks
  • Encourage questions
  • Establish a lifting policy (wide stance, bend at the knees, rise using legs, not the back)

In the event someone experiences overexertion and files a Worker’s Compensation claim, it is important to file the claim quickly. Timely claim reporting is an indicator of a good claims management program. It means:

  • Communication is open between parties
  • Injured party receives proper medical care
  • Adjustors are able to fully investigate claims in a timely manner
  • Compensability decisions are able to be made
  • Empowers the return process

In fact, when claims are not reported within the state’s statutory window, report lag can be a cause for litigation.