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How to Minimize the Risk of MSDs at Work
Oct 09, 2021
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One day, you're encoding a manuscript when you notice a numbing and prickling discomfort in your wrist. You lie down for a bit, but the soreness has spread to your arms and fingers. This is a typical problem that workers face, and it can hurt their work productivity. Other musculoskeletal diseases, aside from the common Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, can make it challenging to be efficient and productive at work. As a result, understanding how to reduce the factors that can lead to these work-related diseases is critical.

Many companies neglect work-related musculoskeletal diseases in the workplace (MSDs). MSDs are the most common type of work-related injury, and according to statistics, accounting for up to 30% of all workers' insurance claims.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

According to the World Health Organization, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are ailments that impact an individual's locomotor network. This includes bones, joints, muscles, and associated tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Simply described, they are medical issues that limit your flexibility, mobility, and dexterity. These illnesses primarily affect the neck, back, upper limbs, and, on rare occasions, the lower extremities.

Repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion injury, and overuse injury are other terminologies used to describe MSDs. The terms "stress" and "repetition" stand out among all of these words.

The following are the most prevalent musculoskeletal problems at work:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle or tendon strain
  • Tension neck syndrome
  • Ligament sprain
  • Tendonitis
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Digital neuritis
  • Ligament sprain
  • Epicondylitis
  • Thoracic outlet compression
  • Trigger thumb or finger

MSDs are characterized by recurring pain, dull pains, stiff joints, and edema. MSD symptoms might impede daily tasks such as sitting, typing and walking in most patients. You can acquire a limited range of motion or find it difficult to complete simple tasks.

Risk Factors

Risk Factors

When the body's mechanism becomes exhausted as a result of repetitive movements, musculoskeletal ailments arise. Individual-related factors and work-related (ergonomic) factors are the two primary groups of risks for musculoskeletal disorders. Poor health practices, poor working conditions, poor diet, and a lack of proper rest and relaxation are all individual risk factors. A person who wants to be free of musculoskeletal disorders must also have a healthy mental condition. They must practice excellent health behaviors at work or home and avoid those that may damage their health.

The following are some of the risk variables that are frequently linked to MSDs:

  • Force of movements
  • Movement and posture
  • Repetitive movement of work
  • Certain actions such as hunching forward, reaching for an object, typing, or arm rotation
  • Temperature
  • Vibration
  • No control over a job designation
  • Poor or lack of communication among workers
  • Increased body pressure
  • Certain monotonic tasks
  • Lack of support from management

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace

As we age, our bodies' bones, joints, and muscles degenerate naturally. Musculoskeletal problems, on the other hand, can be avoided. There are a number of techniques to reduce your chances of developing these conditions.

Identification of Causes

Identifying the individual causes of musculoskeletal disorders might assist you in customizing solutions. Policies can be implemented to address the specific risk factors that lead to MSDs. The majority of muscle strain and overuse injuries situations develop when the force required exceeds our physical capabilities. The more force required, the greater the chance of harm.

Education and Training

Among the most effective strategies to prevent MSDs in the workplace is through training. Ultimately, equipping your employees with the required information will enable them to exercise better precaution and minimize work-related problems on their own.

Strong Workplace Ergonomics

Strong Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomics will guarantee that everything in the workplace is adequately organized and established, including equipment, tools, and peripherals. Employees will be able to work more efficiently because repetitious jobs will be eliminated, as well as unpleasant postures.

Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair

Standing Desks and Ergonomic Accessories

Standing desks can help you improve your posture and prevent the harmful effects of sitting for lengthy periods. They can easily be converted to a comfortable height, making switching between sitting and standing easier. FlexiSpot's height-adjustable standing desks come in various materials and sizes, so there's one for everyone.

An ergonomic mouse can also help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other strain-related problems caused by lengthy periods of computer use. For sitting, an ergonomic chair, such as these from FlexiSpot, will provide comfort and support. Back discomfort and exhaustion can be reduced by sitting in a chair with sufficient lumbar support, like FlexiSpot's Soutien.

An Active Environment

If you're an employer, providing an active workplace is a practical strategy to reduce the prevalence of musculoskeletal problems among employees. You may motivate your employees to exercise by:

  • Hire a personal trainer to drop by weekly to lead quick workout classes
  • Holding a meeting while standing or walking
  • Using low-cost mini-stepper devices in places like meeting rooms
  • Move garbage cans and printers further away to push employees to walk 

Promote Proper Posture and Body Mechanics

Especially when bending, twisting, sitting, or reaching for something.

Healthy Diet and Adequate Exercise

Scheduled Breaks

Scheduled Breaks

Taking scheduled breaks is another way to reduce the occurrence of musculoskeletal problems. This has the advantage of interrupting long periods of repetitive or monotonous activities and times, which raises the risk of MSDs. 

According to a study, employees who took more regular work breaks had less exhaustion and stress as a result of their jobs.
The duration of the break at work is critical for tissue and muscle repair. A study was conducted to see how surgeons reacted to micro-breaks (between 1.5 and 2 minutes). Researchers discovered that taking these pauses helped to minimize musculoskeletal discomfort dramatically.

Employers and workers are both responsible for learning about musculoskeletal disorders. This is critical since reducing the risk of job-related MSDs is both cost-effective and beneficial to everyone's health in the workplace. Everyone can work effectively, and workplace productivity will undoubtedly rise.