Did you know that workplace musculoskeletal injury are one of the leading causes of missed work days in the United States? In fact, they account for nearly 30% of all worker injuries. That’s why it’s so crucial for employers to take preventative measures to protect their employees from these types of injuries. In this blog post, we will discuss 10ways employers can prevent workplace musculoskeletal injuries.
Financial Impact of Musculoskeletal (MSK) Injuries
Musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders are not only the most common workplace injuries, but they also tend to be the most costly. According to data from the National Safety Council, musculoskeletal disorders cost employers billions of dollars per year in direct and indirect costs, including healthcare expenses and missed work days.
MSK injuries from heavy lifting, awkward postures, and repetitive motions cost US employers over $20 billion per year. Prevention is key when reducing MSK injuries. In fact, every dollar spent on the prevention of MSK injuries results in a minimum of $2 return.
Most Common MSK Injuries in the Workplace
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) encompass a variety of painful issues with muscles, tendons, and nerves. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinopathies, thoracic outlet syndrome, sprains, and strains.
The most common causes of these injuries in the workplace include:
- Repetitive Motion
- Awkward Postures
- Poor Ergonomics
- Lack of Rest Breaks
Preventing workplace musculoskeletal injuries is crucial for employers, as they can be costly and lead to missed work days. The following tips will help employers keep their employees healthy and safe.
10 Steps to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries in the Workplace
The best way to prevent workplace injury is by implementing a safety culture in your company. WorkSafe Physical Therapy has many programs and tools to help you do just that!
1. Job Demands Analysis
The purpose of a job analysis is to measure the necessary requirements and skills needed to complete the duties of a position. Once you have a job analysis performed you are able to better fit an employee to the minimum demands of the job. Without this, you could run the risk of having the wrong employee for the job who is physically unable to perform the job requirements. Ensuring an employee is physically able to match the job demands is essential in preventing injury.
2. Physical Ability Testing or Post Offer Employment Testing (POET)
A Physical Ability Test is an examination that is given to candidates after they have been offered a job, but before they have started working. This test measures how well the candidate can perform the physical tasks required by the job description. By performing these tests and having an accurate job demand analysis, you will be sure to fit the right employee to the right job physically. This will ensure that the candidate is physically safe to perform the minimum requirements of the position they are hiring for, reducing their risk of injury.
3. Onsite Early Intervention
An onsite athletic trainer provides early intervention services for your employees. Early intervention is a proactive approach to finding early signs of injury and providing first aid before it becomes an MSK injury.
4. Implement a safe lifting policy.
One of the most important things employers can do to prevent MSK injuries is to create a safe lifting policy. This policy should outline how employees are supposed to lift heavy objects and how to properly lift them with good posture. Employees should also be trained on how to lift safely.
5. Encourage employees to take breaks.
When employees are working for long periods of time, it’s important for them to take breaks regularly. This will help prevent fatigue which causes an increase in the risk of developing an MSK injury. According to a recent study, if employees take more frequent breaks, they will suffer less work-related fatigue and distress (Blasche 2017). When muscles are tired, they are less able to absorb energy before reaching the point where an injury can occur.
6. Provide ergonomic training.
Many MSK injuries are caused by poor posture or awkward positions. That’s why it’s important for employers to provide ergonomic training to their employees. This training will teach employees how to adjust their workstation and furniture so they can work in a more comfortable and safe position.
7. Allow employees to adjust their workstations.
Employees should be allowed to adjust their workstations to fit their individual needs. This includes adjusting the height of their chair, desk, and computer screen. These adjustments will help the employee maintain a better position to prevent injury by staying out of awkward postures.
8. Job Rotating
Job rotation is an effective way to prevent MSK injuries, as it allows employees to prevent repetitive movements by doing a variety of tasks throughout the day.
9. Invest in proper equipment.
If your company requires employees to perform heavy lifting or other physical tasks, it’s important to invest in the right equipment and tools. This will help prevent overexertion and prevent injuries.
10. Encourage employees to speak up if they are in pain.
If an employee is experiencing pain or discomfort at work, it’s crucial for them to speak up. This will help prevent the injury from getting worse by addressing the pain early with one of our onsite providers!
WorkSafe Physical Therapy Can Help You Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries!
By following these tips, employers can help prevent workplace musculoskeletal injuries and keep their employees healthy and safe. Whether you’re looking for ergonomic training, onsite services, or preventative programs, WorkSafe is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help prevent MSK injuries in your workplace!
Contact WorkSafe Physical Therapy to find out how we can help your company
Working to keep you safe, healthy, and productive,