Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) are injuries and disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs. Improper lifting, reaching, pushing, pulling as well as excessive and miss-applied force cause many of the MSDs reported by employees.
The four primary risk factors for MSDs are: awkward or uncomfortable body positions, using excessive force or misapplying force, repetitive motions and contact stress or injury. All these factors are affected by how safely employees approach a task. When employees are aware of these factors and how to prevent injuries, the frequency and severity of MSDs decline.
Here are some points to consider:
- Reaching upward—This increases the force on your lower spine and puts stress on the upper back, shoulders and arms.
- Forward reaches—This puts a lot of stress on your lower back, neck and shoulders.
- Bending and twisting—Bending sideways or twisting puts stress on your lower back.
Primary Prevention Factors
- Maintain Flexibility
One of the contributing factors to strains is when your body uses muscle groups that haven’t been warmed up for the task. Simple stretching exercises for your hands, wrists, back and neck can help prevent strains or other serious injuries.
- Proper Exercise, Diet, And Rest
There is no doubt that regular exercise, a healthy diet, and proper rest are necessary in caring for your overall physical health, as well as preventing these types of injuries. Further, a person that’s physically fit will recover more quickly when the unfortunate does occur.
- Good Lifting Habits
Following these safe lifting rules will reduce the possibility of injury:
- Size up the load before lifting.
- Bend your knees when lifting.
- Place your feet close to the object and center yourself over the load.
- Lift straight up in a smooth motion.
- Do not twist or turn your body once the lift is made.
- Make sure there is a clear path
- Set the load down properly.
- Always push a load that is on a cart – never pull it.
- Get assistance if the object being moved is either too big or too heavy