Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time, accounting for 33% of all worker injuries. MSDs are soft-tissue injuries that affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. Common work-related MSDs include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strains.
Sudden or sustained physical exertion, repetitive motion, and bad posture are some of the main factors that contribute to MSDs. Creating an ergonomically safe workplace can reduce the risk of work-related MSDs. As outlined by the CDC, based on NIOSH research, the key elements of an effective ergonomic program include identifying risk factors, providing proper employee training, and designing tasks and workspaces to fit an employee’s physical capabilities.
Providing modifications to work tasks, such as decreasing the frequency and/or duration of a task, can help reduce the potential for muscle strains and other work-related MSDs. Moreover, educating employees on how to detect symptoms of an MSD early on can reduce the severity of a potential injury, limiting the associated costs of the injury and duration of lost or restricted work time.
With a large portion of the workforce working remotely, it is also important to provide employees with the knowledge and support to create a comfortable, ergonomically safe workspace at home. For instance, providing guidance on desk positioning and proper monitor and keyboard placement can help employees practice good posture to prevent neck and back pain.
Overall, when appropriate ergonomic measures are practiced, companies can see an increase in employee productivity levels and a lower risk of work-related musculoskeletal injuries.
To learn more about office ergonomics, review this how-to guide here.