Ergonomics is the study of properly fitting people in their work environments. Ergonomics can have positive effects on multiple levels, the most important of which is protecting workers from injury.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are some of the most common types of work injuries, and effective ergonomics processes in the workplace can reduce the risk of MSDs, which include injuries to the neck and back. Here let's go over some important things Maryland workers should know about MSDs and ergonomics.
MSDs can result from work in any kind of industry. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statisics (BLS) in 2011, 33 percent of all work-related injuries and illnesses that year -- 387,820 in total -- were due to MSDs, and the following industries had the highest rates of MSD:
- Health care
- Warehousing and transportation
- Wholesale and retail trade
Basically, if you do any type of work that requires bending, pulling, pushing, reaching, lifting or working in an awkward physical position, then there is a risk that you'll suffer a neck, back or upper body injury that could be diagnosed as an MSD.
However, employers can implement ergonomics processes to reduce the risk of injury. The United States Department of Labor says that an effective ergonomics process should include these elements:
- Identification of potential problems in the workplace
- Direct worker involvement in the process of assessing the workplace, developing solutions and implementing an ergonomics process
- Committed management support
- Proper training to inform workers about the importance of implementing ergonomics and early reporting of MSD symptoms
- Periodic evaluations of the ergonomics process
If you have suffered a back, neck or upper body injury in the course of your employment, then you should be aware of your options for maximizing workers' compensation benefits. MSDs can be very serious and worsen over time, a workers' comp attorney help build a strong claim while you focus on recovering.