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KU-EHS March Safety Tip: Musculoskelatal Disorders (MSDs)

Friday, March 4, 2016

1. How do MSDs affect the body?

  • MSDs include a group of conditions that involve the nerves, tendons, muscles and supporting structures, such as intervertebral discs.
  • They represent a wide range of disorders that can differ in severity, from relatively mild to debilitating.
  • Some MSDs you might be familiar with include carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff syndrome and tendinitis. However, even back pain could be considered an MSD.
  • MSDs typically occur when there is a poor fit between a job and the person doing the job.

2. What are some risk factors that can contribute to work-related MSDs?

  • Jobs that require reaching
  • Jobs that require bending
  • Jobs that require straining
  • Jobs that require heavy lifting
  • Jobs that require the use of continuous force
  • Jobs that require the use of vibrating equipment
  • Jobs that involve repetitive motions
  • Jobs that require working in awkward positions
  • Jobs that involve continuous contact with hard or sharp objects

Many times, a simple change in how we perform our work can help to prevent an ergonomic injury, or MSD. Take your own job, for example. Are there things you could do differently to not only complete your work more efficiently, but also reduce the stress your body experiences as you perform different tasks?

3. What are some specific things you can do to prevent ergonomic injuries on the job?

  • When standing or sitting, maintain good posture to avoid back pain.
  • When sitting, place your back against the chair and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Use any ergonomic equipment available to you, such as wrist rests when working on a keyboard.
  • When using a computer, adjust the monitor so that it is at eye level and glare is minimized.
  • Keep comfort, efficiency and safety in mind when choosing hand tools.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with cushioned soles or inserts to relieve tension from standing for long periods of time on a hard floor.
  • Periodically stretch and relax your muscles — especially if your job involves repetitive motions.
  • Increase endurance and muscle tone by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. Remember to consult with a physician prior to starting a new exercise regimen.
  • Report ergonomic concerns to your manager or supervisor.

There Is No Need for Pain

MSDs are preventable when we pay attention to how our bodies feel as we’re doing our jobs. If your work is causing you pain, please tell us. Together, we can make the necessary adjustments to help you avoid an injury.

Report A Safety Concern

Report a concern to KU-EHS

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