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Just Breathe: Preventing Hernias on the Job

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As someone who insures parcel professionals on a regular basis, I can say first hand that the number of hernias we see in our industry is nothing to shake a stick at. Hernias are a serious problem, and we should be doing our best to avoid them altogether so that our employees don’t suffer. Preventing hernias is a simple matter of understanding how and why they occur, because knowledge is power. Let’s talk about everything you should know about hernias to keep you and your team safe on the job.

What is a hernia?

“A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall.” – Healthline

Generally speaking, a hernia is caused by the combination of strain and muscle weakness, and can develop over various periods or amounts of time. Strain can be caused by the person themselves, whether they are pushing themselves to hard or, for instance, trying to lift a package that is too heavy.. Muscle weakness can be triggered by multiple things, but some more common causes include constant coughing, damage from a surgery or a past injury, or even age.

Preventing Hernias

There are a few key practices that you can easily implement into your package handling routines that will help prevent hernias over time, and they are as follows:

  • Always warm up: Whether you’re lifting a heavy package or doing a strenuous exercise, always be sure to warm up with something a little lighter, or stretch the muscle groups you will be using.
  • Slow Progression: When it comes to lifting, exercising, or anything else that causes strain, it’s best to build up your workout in a progression. Start slow, then ease on overtime.
  • Don’t overkill: If you feel like you may not be able to lift a package or move something on your own, then it’s probably best that you don’t. If you overshoot your limits, you’ll suffer the consequences.
  • Breathe: While performing any strenuous activity, you should breathe fully with your belly, exhaling when you have to apply force.  You should feel your stomach expand when you breathe in, and contract when you release.

Further Preparation

When it comes to keeping your team safe, regulatory safety training meetings or simple reminders on how to prevent injuries can make a world of difference. A few other tips we can give specifically on hernia prevention is to try to avoid smoking, try to maintain a healthy body weight, and make sure that you are having healthy, regular bowel movements. Injury prevention is only half the battle when it comes to staying prepared though. If you want to make sure you are covered before it’s too late, give our parcel insurance professional, Brian O’Connor, a call today to talk about getting the coverage you need.

Brian P. O’Connor

Licensed Insurance Agent

(860) 805-7001

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