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Safety Tip: Sprains and strains
Safety Tip: Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are one of the most common workplace injuries. So how do they happen? Most are the result of improper lifting. Are you prepared to deal with sprains and strains if someone suffers one on the job?

Test your knowledge of sprains and strains by answering True or False to the following questions:

  1. To treat a sprain or strain, it’s best to place ice on the injured area for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Strains are injuries to a tendon, the tissue that connects muscles to bone.
  3. The easiest way to prevent sprains and strains is to prepare for a job before anyone starts working.
  4. Muscle spasms, bruises and stiffness are all signs of a strain.


  1. False. The sprained or strained area should only be iced for 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times per day. Any longer than that can lead to frostbite or other cold injuries.
  2. True. Strains are tendon injuries that usually occur in the back, upper thigh and elbow. Sprains are injuries to ligaments and usually happen in the ankle, knee and wrist.
  3. True. Preparation reduces the chance someone will suffer a sprain or strain. To prevent sprains and strains, have workers stretch for five to 10 minutes before each shift. Also remind them to plan how they’re going to lift heavy boxes and objects before they start the job.
  4. True. Muscle spasms, bruising and stiffness are symptoms of both sprains and strains. Very rapid bruising is a sign of a sprain.

Supervisors Safety Bulletin, March 2011.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Discuss accident prevention with your staff using the resources available free to ARA members through Rental U and Safety Meeting Resources in Shop ARA. Additional titles, including Office Safety, are available through the ARA Lending Library, another ARA member only resource. Members can borrow three Lending Library items for 30 days. Click here to visit the library.

This safety tip is provided by ARA Insurance, Kansas City, Mo., to help those in the rental industry better manage their risk. For more safety and risk management information, customers of ARA Insurance can log on to ReSource. Access is free, so if you haven’t signed up yet, contact your agent or call 800-821-6580.

Click here to download a safety meeting sign-up sheet for those of you using the Safety Tip as the basis for your weekly safety meetings




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