This is part two of our three part series on the Root Cause of injuries. Our goal is to help identify the Root Cause of injuries and ways to help people adapt so we can drastically reduce them!
In part one, we discussed load exceeding capacity causing injury to occur. Our example of this was a blister resulting from friction on ungloved hands creating skin tears or blisters.
This segment covers adaptation. In our example of raking with bare hands causing blisters; how do we adapt or increase capacity? We develop calluses through conditioning of the skin. Calluses are a form of adaptation. It is a scientific fact that muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones and probably all human tissue posses the ability to adapt and develop enhanced ability to tolerate load. An untrained 18 year old male who lifts weights for 5 years may achieve an approximately 300% increase in muscular strength by the age of 23. In the workplace, we can use various exercises, stretching and other techniques to help workers bodies adapt to the loads place on their bodies at work.
The broad term for possessing the ability to perform all essential work functions injury free is known as being “Fit for Duty.” Fire fighters must pass an annual fit for duty exam. In L. A. County 12,000 fire fighters were measured and compared for their fitness to work. The best conditioned workers had 700% fewer on the job injuries than the worst conditioned workers. This research study shows us that increasing capacity reduces injury! In our next segment, we will discuss methods for helping workers increase capacity and ways to decrease load.