Strains and sprains related to lifting and material handling are some of the most frequent types of injuries, both on and off the job. While some factors that contribute to the potential for injury cannot be controlled, others can be reduced or minimized. Poor physical fitness, obesity, smoking, poor posture, and medical/physical deficiencies are personal factors that may contribute to strains and sprains. Workplace factors may include inadequate workplace design, improper or defective material handling equipment, improper manual or mechanical handling methods, and inadequate training.
Strains and sprains may appear suddenly, but are often the result of numerous micro-traumas to the body, involving improper sitting or lifting over a long period of time. While no approach has been found for totally eliminating material handling injuries, an injury prevention program can minimize their occurrence by identifying risk factors and developing means to reduce their impact.