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Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDS)

Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDS)

Asian man working at standing desk

Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. Different occupations can cause workers to be exposed to risk factors at work such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, and performing tasks repetitively.

Impact of MSDs in the Workplace:

Work-related MSDs are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers. In the workplace, the number and severity of MSDs resulting from physical overexertion and their associated costs can be substantially reduced by applying ergonomic principles.

Implementing an ergonomic process is effective in reducing the risk of developing MSDs in high-risk industries. Work-related MSDs can be prevented by being mindful about ergonomics (i.e. fitting a job to a person) can help:

  • Lesson muscle fatigue Increase productivity
  • Reduce the number and severity of work-related MSDs
  • Reduce costs such as medical care, work, and home productivity, etc.
Program Highlight: Stretches for the Workday Stretching for a few minutes each day can help you maintain or improve your physical health. In fact, stretching has been found to increase productivity and boost energy. This program will provide you with a series of stretches that are designed to fit into your workday. These stretches will target all major muscle groups and can be performed anywhere, whether seated or standing. Go to your member app or website and explore the Program Library on the Journey tab to learn more.

Improving Ergonomics According to OSHA, many industries have successfully implemented ergonomic solutions in their facilities to address their workers’ MSD injury risks. These interventions have included modifying existing equipment, making changes in work practices, and purchasing new tools or other devices to assist in the production process. Making these changes has reduced physical demands, eliminated unnecessary movements, lowered injury rates and their associated workers’ compensation costs, and reduced employee turnover. In many cases, work efficiency and productivity have increased as well.

Learn more about this and other important topics in the June 2024 Plan for Health newsletter by Highmark.

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