The CDC and NIOSH offer insight and the benefits one can get from engaging in an ergonomics program, where workers can learn how to minimize the physical exertion needed to lift and handle objects.

Ergonomics programs are designed to provide systematic ways to reduce musculoskeletal disorders once risk factors have been identified, analyzed, and controlled. By developing appropriate ergonomic solutions, further losses as a result in a decline in productivity, quality of work, absenteeism, lost time injury and worker’s compensation premiums can be mitigated.

Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD) are not only costly but can adversely affect a worker’s productivity and morale. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were 2.8 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses attributed to MSDs. Manufacturing accounted for 15% of all private industry nonfatal injuries and illnesses.

In 2018 and 2019, ten occupations, including laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand had the highest cases with tractor-trailer truck drivers following. The median number of days away from work ranged from 8-20, depending on industry and the types of jobs performed.

According to OH&S Online, some common disorders from MSDs can sometimes be over simplified to a singular cause for damage vs. accounting for multiple factors and referred to “repetitive motion injury” or “repetitive stress injury” or an “overuse injury” may include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Muscle / Tendon Strain
  • Ligament Sprain
  • Tension Neck Syndrome
  • Thoracic Outlet Compression
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
  • Epicondylitis
  • Radial Tunnel Syndrome
  • Digital Neuritis
  • Trigger Finger/Thumb
  • DeQuervain’s Syndrome
  • Mechanical Back Syndrome
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Ruptured/Herniated Disc

Designing the right ergonomic intervention requires and understanding of work-processes, job tasks, equipment and workplace layout. Here is one of the first questions to consider:

Are machines or people best suited to complete a particular task?

By understanding the answer to this question, you will determine whether your workplace layout is creating undue stress or strain while the employees are performing work functions.

Per NIOSH, the below guide offers 7 simple steps to evaluate and address MSDs in your workplace:

  • Identify Risk Factors
  • Involve and Train Management and Workers
  • Collect Health and Medical Evidence
  • Implement your Ergonomic Program
  • Evaluate your Ergonomic Program
  • Promote Worker Recover through Health Care Management and Return-to-Work
  • Maintain Management Commitment and Employee Involvement.

NIOSH recommends that ergonomic programs be used to supplement existing occupational health and safety management systems.

Safety Training

Whatever your industry, Arbill is committed to helping your company ensure workplace safety. Our full suite of safety training and consulting options, including site assessments and audits, gap analysis, staff augmentation and industrial hygiene services are provided by highly experienced and certified EHS professionals.


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