Check out this article from the Aniston Army Depot Industrial Hygiene Department.
The ART tool was designed by the Health and Safety Executive of the British government. They are our equivalent of OSHA. This is a free tool that can help you in assessing risks to employees that involve repetitive movement tasks of the upper extremity. They have free downloads of the ART tool Read more
U.S. workplaces have become increasingly sedentary, with resulting negative health effects. Through its Total Worker Health® Program, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends an integrated approach to addressing sedentary work environments. An integrated approach is one that protects workers from work-related injury and illness and helps them advance their overall health and well-being, on and off the job. This document describes organizational practices that can reduce the risks associated with sedentary work.
The most recent Cochrane review of randomized control trials (RCT) involving relief of low back pain using massage was published in 2015. The review examined 25 RCT and found that massage was better than inactivity in the short term for pain relief. They also found that massage was better than active controls in the short and long term for pain relief. Read the full review at the link below.
Musculoskeletal disorders in the form of overexertion caused sprain and strain injuries along with repetitive motion injuries were responsible for costing employers over $16 billion in 2013 and accounted for 27% of all reported injuries. Some of the most common MSDs include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Low Back Pain
- Ligament Sprain
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Muscle Strain
- Plantar fasciitis
These disorders typically occur over a period of time and may have some noticeable signs and symptoms before they progress to a chronic condition. The typical progression may include the following steps:
- Exposure to risk factor (overexertion/repetitive motion)
- Fatigue of the exposed anatomy and limited recovery time
- Soft tissues reach the limit of sustaining the outside forces
- Ache or discomfort progresses to a chronic condition
Prevention and early recognition, and quick, appropriate intervention can stop the progression of these disorders to costly conditions. Some steps to take include:
- Adjust the job to the worker
- Decrease common motions known to cause injury
- Educate employees how to recognize MSDs
- Implement an on-site solution for addressing early signs of MSDs
If you hadn’t read this title and someone asked you, “What is the top cause of musculoskeletal injury in the workplace?” what would your reply be? Chances are you would have said repetitive motion injuries.
Overexertion injuries top the list of workplace related musculoskeletal disorders reported in 2016 in regards to the data from the 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For comparison, in 1998 the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index reported from the BLS overexertion injury cost approximately $9.8 billion dollars. For 2013 they reported an estimated cost of $15 billion dollars. Compared to the estimate for repetitive motion injuries costing approximately $1.8 billion dollars in 2013.
There are differences in the two terms and how injuries are classified and recorded. Repetitive motion injuries are just that, injuries caused by repeatedly performing a specific motion as a part of a task. The term doesn’t necessarily take in to account force applied to the motion, but it is thought that continuous use causes excessive strain on the tissues leading to swelling and ultimately pain or neurologic symptoms. Read more
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the form of overexertion sprains and strains and repetitive trauma disorders continue to claim two of the top ten most common workplace injuries. It has become a huge cost to employers as the 2013 estimates for these conditions combined exceed $16 billion dollars. Employers are addressing these conditions by looking at ways to prevent the issue from happening, detect the issue early, and utilize an effective solution to manage the conditions.
Prevention is key and begins with an analysis of the workers environment. Typically this is referred to an ergonomist. These professionals analyze the workers environment to increase efficiency and decrease disorders arising from any undue stressors. Simply put, ergonomics fits the job to the person.
Educating employees on early detection of MSD is necessary to minimize impact on productivity and to increase the likelihood of quick resolution of the condition. When the symptoms of MSD are minimal and in the early stages conservative, first aid care can help speed the recovery process without the need for more costly interventions and can minimize productivity loss.
One of the simplest things employees can do to help prevent injuries is also one of the most important. That one thing is workplace ergonomics. Workplace ergonomics in used in most contexts as it relates to the position of a person sitting at their desk. While this is true, it does not stop in the office. Ergonomics is a science that deals with the design and arrangement of the things people use at work to make the work easier and/or safer. Read more