Ergonomics for MSDsPreventing MSDs in the workplace is the right thing for any employer to do.

What is an MSD?

Musculoskeletal disorders affect the muscles, nerves and tendons. In the workplace, MSDs are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness across industries. Exposure to known risks, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, working in awkward body positions or doing the same task over and over, increase the risk of injury every day.

Two examples of MSDs in the workplace include carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.

BLR Statistics

In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that industries with the highest MSD rates include health care, transportation and warehousing, retail and wholesale trade, and construction.

Ergonomics Prevent Work-related MSDs

ErgonimicsThe definition of ergonomics is quite simply “human engineering.” In othwr words, looking at the relationship between a worker and his or her work environment. That might include things like equipment design, workstation design and work processes, such as how much a worker can llife or how something should be lifted.

Ergonomics lessen muscle fatique, increases prouctivity and reduces the number of work-related MSDs. You  can substantially reduce the number of MSDs in your workplace by applying ergonomic principles

Ergonomics Improvement Process NOT Program

Ergonomics isn’t another program for your company to roll out. It’s not just about making an assessment; it’s about an ergonomic improvement process – identifying risk factors, putting control measures in place. An ergonomic assessment provides the data you need for your improvement process.

A process might look something like:

» Ensure you have management support and buy-in
» Conduct ergonomic assessments on jobs identified
» Involve employees in worksite ergonomic assessments
» Determine the best solution using a team approach
» Provide ergonomics training
» Identify and problems and encourage early reporting of MSD symptoms
» Implement ergonomics solutions to control hazards
» Evaluate the ergonomic improvement process

Assessment Tools

Check out the following assessment tools and don’t forget tht OSHA has an excellent Ergonomics section on their website.

» NIOSH lifting equation  – single task
» NIOSH lifting equation – multi task
» REBA – Rapid Entire Body Assessment
» RULA – Rapid Upper Limb Assessment

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