Musculoskeletal Disorders in the WorkplaceJanuary 25, 2019
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most common types of workplace injuries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Labor, an MSD is an injury or disease that affects the musculoskeletal system or the connective tissue, including the muscles, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. A work-related MSD may be caused by certain repetitive tasks, including heavy lifting, or made worse by specific work conditions. These injuries can be avoided by understanding the potential risks and taking the appropriate safety precautions.
Types of Workplace MSDs
There are a number of MSDs that are common in the workplace, including the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS): According to the U.S. Department of Labor, close to two million people suffer from CTS. This can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle atrophy caused by a compression of the median nerve at the wrist.
- Back injuries: These are one of the most common types of MSDs, which can result in a significant amount of missed work days, costly medical expenses, and physical therapy. Workers often suffer chronic pain from back injuries.
- Arthritis: This condition affects the joints and surrounding connective tissue surrounding. According to the National Arthritis Data Working Group, close to 27 million adults suffer from osteoarthritis affecting the knees, hands, neck, hips, and back. Workers whose job involves a significant amount of heavy lifting or other physically demanding tasks are more susceptible to arthritis.
Steps to Prevent MSDs
Workers suffering from an MSD may experience pain, ranging from slight aches and stiffness to severe, constant pain that impacts the worker’s ability to complete certain tasks. Employees who do a great deal of heavy lifting and bending or spend up to eight hours a day typing should be aware of these symptoms. Employees should notify their supervisor if they experience any of these symptoms and seek medical care. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be prevented by taking the following steps:
- Use proper safety techniques: Workers who lift heavy items must use the appropriate lifting techniques. Employees who do a great deal of typing, or who sit at a desk for hours at a time should make sure that their keyboards are positioned at the correct height. Ideally, work spaces should incorporate ergonomically designed chairs, desks, and other materials that can help prevent injuries.
- Encourage stretching and muscle-strengthening exercises: Workers whose job involves physical labor should always stretch before and after completing a task to reduce the risk of injury. Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle and can reduce tension, stress, and other lifestyle injuries and illnesses.
- Take regular breaks during shifts: This will allow the body to recover from repetitive tasks and heavy lifting. They can also reduce the risk of injuries caused by fatigue or becoming distracted.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Workers Suffering from Musculoskeletal Disorders
If you are suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the full benefits you deserve, including lost wages, medical expenses, and any physical therapy necessary to help you recover from your injury and return to work. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We represent clients throughout the state of Maryland.