construction worker suffering from back pain

Ergonomics in the Workplace

A musculoskeletal disorder is pain felt in a person’s muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, and tendons. This is usually caused by the type of work one is doing or their work environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1999 there were over 600,000 workers that suffered serious workplace injuries which were caused by overexertion and repetitive motion. In their January 2001 report on Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Workplace, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) indicated that there were 1 million serious work-related ergonomic injuries per year.

The purpose of the science of ergonomics is to be able to accommodate the worker with the best-fit working conditions related to the expectations of their particular job. You must first clarify what working conditions could pose a musculoskeletal disorder risk for your industry and provide recommendations and solutions to alleviate those risks.

For example, there are many working conditions that can pose a risk of musculoskeletal disorder in the construction industry. Construction is believed to be one of the top hazardous industries in the United States. Back injuries are one of the leading complaints, as well as pain in the shoulders, neck, arms, and hands. About 32% of claims are from material handling incidents. Construction injuries and/or complaints can be a result of lifting, working in confined areas, carrying heavy objects, and repetitive motions. In order to alleviate such hazards, an employer must always re-evaluate how the work is done and the working conditions and come up with ways to improve the system. If an employer is successful in making this work, they can assure a higher productivity level, happier employees, and fewer injuries and illnesses in the workplace.


This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.

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