Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage and spinal discs. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are musculoskeletal injuries in which the work environment or work activity contribute significantly to the condition or the condition is worsened or persists due to work activity.
A strain is an overused or overstretched muscle and a sprain is a torn ligament caused by sudden movement. Excessive lifting of heavy objects, performing repetitive motions and working in unusual or awkward positions for prolonged periods of time are all known risk factors for sprains, strains and other work-related musculoskeletal injuries.
Damage to muscles and tendons can lead to both acute injuries (such as a sprained ligament) or chronic injuries (such as back injuries) that can keep Laborers from working for extended periods, and repeated injuries can cause significant damage over time. This can shorten a worker’s career and sometimes permanently affect their quality of life in retirement.
Strength, size, age and anatomical differences all play a role in the number of lifts a person’s body can tolerate. The emphasis on prevention should always start with employers designing tasks to reduce excessive lifting, repetitive motions and awkward work positions. Instituting work practice procedures such as team lifting, practicing proper body mechanics and training workers on how to maintain a neutral posture can all help reduce workers’ injury risk.
WMSDs can also be an issue in office settings. Working in an office often requires repetitive tasks, awkwards/stagnant postures and causes stress on the body.