MSD in the workplace is one of the most common injuries that occur across various occupations, and they are the same ones that are not easily spotted. MSD is short for Musculoskeletal Disorder, which occurs in the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 600,000 MSD-related workplace injuries yearly in the U.S. Every day, tools and activities at the workplace, including overexertion, awkward positions, improper lifting technique, and even force, cause many MSDs to develop over time. While these injuries can range in severity, they are preventable in many ways depending on your job and what it entails. Here are some ways to prevent MSD in the workplace and keep employees healthy.
Improved Work Techniques
Some jobs will require certain activities, such as lifting or moving heavy objects, that can cause damage to your back over time. However, there are ways to minimize the risk involved with completing those tasks at work. Improved work techniques can keep you safe, and it can include using helpful equipment that lessens the stress and toll on your body during labor. Some equipment that can be helpful are dollies, carts, forklifts, and platforms because they help you to avoid the manual handling of heavy objects yourself. Finding the best and safest strategies to complete the job, even at a moderate pace, helps to prevent MSDs.
Another prevention would be proper stretching before repetitive, static, or prolonged activities, such as sitting or assembly work. Incorporating a work site stretch and flex program can be a helpful addition to an ergonomic process, and it will prepare employees’ bodies for the work ahead while developing better team bonding and communication with other employees. Stretching will increase their range of motion, prevent aches and pains, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. Taking breaks from any repetitive or prolonged activities is also essential due to the possibility of obtaining an RSI or repetitive strain injury, and it will also reduce the risk of discomfort, fatigue, and damage when returning to the task.
Better Tools and Resources
In any job, the first line of defense should be to ensure employees have access to better tools and resources to prevent MSDs, especially in employment with a higher risk of developing them, ranging from construction work to desk jobs. For example, better tools should lessen the force needed to complete a task or help ensure proper positioning during tasks, such as an ergonomic chair for desk work. A resource employers can use to prevent MSDs is an ergonomic program used to assess risks for MSDs while helping make changes to benefit the safety and health of its employees.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Most people immediately think of personal protective equipment, or PPE, when it comes to preventing MSD in the workplace, and it can vary depending on one’s occupation. Some examples of PPE for construction workers include safety goggles, face shields, hard hats, hearing protectors, gloves, and work boots. All of these minimize the risk of injuries and illness while reducing the hazards of the job. One of the biggest causes of MSD is vibration from power tools or other activities, so an example of a beneficial PPE would be anti-vibration full-fingered gloves to lower the risk of disorders like carpal tunnel.
Employers should provide awareness and training on MSDs and risk factors before employees begin their work as another form of prevention against MSDs. Knowing steps they can take, tools they can use, or proper positions to keep themselves safe will play a significant role in keeping employees healthy. It also provides ergonomic strategies beforehand, with potentially annual training to ensure employees are well aware of the risks and the ability to minimize them, as well as any new developments in knowledge.
Functionally Optimized Massages
Functionally optimized massages are a solution that would tackle issues such as back pain, carpal tunnel, and more. These are hands-on treatments that are evidence-based and trusted by professional athletes as well as Fortune 500 companies. These massages are customized to treat and resolve each employee’s source of pain to prevent injuries, absenteeism, repetitive motion injuries, and more. It also incorporates technology, and employees can manage appointments online, receive email reminders, and receive on-site or telehealth appointments. This use of technology helps to keep data on symptoms, results of treatments, and outcomes of the program overall.
When it comes to MSDs in the workplace, they are preventable with changes in everyday tasks, tools, and programs that can be incorporated starting today. Taking these steps will keep employees safer, healthier, and more productive. If you are ready to take the next step in improving your workplace with resources such as functionally optimized massages, contact BioFunctional Health Solutions.