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Why are musculoskeletal disorders so common in workers?

People who work in construction and other physically-demanding jobs in Atlanta of course face the risk of injury. However, even people who sit at a desk for the better part of their workday can suffer from musculoskeletal disorders if they are performing repetitive motions or have to place their body in an awkward position to work. MSDs can impact nerves, muscles and tendons.

Lifting or pulling heavy objects, reaching and bending can also cause MSDs. Interestingly, they are among the most common reasons for lost work time. The industries most impacted include beverage delivery, construction, food processing, health care, office jobs and warehousing.

Ergonomics can help prevent MSDs and other workplace injuries. When they hear the term "ergonomics," many people think of a well-built desk chair that supports them properly and is the right height for their desk and computer. However, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ergonomics actually is the "scientific study of people at work." Those who study ergonomics strive to minimize injuries, stress and disorders caused by such things as repetitive movement, poor posture and the overuse of muscles.

Employers have a responsibility for helping to prevent MSDs in their workers. It's part of their responsibility for providing a healthy and safe workplace. This means getting workers involved to help find a solution to issues that are causing these injuries and encouraging them to recognize and report MSD symptoms. However, managers are also expected to have a strong commitment to ergonomics in their workplaces.

Employees who are suffering symptoms of an MSD should seek medical treatment and report the findings to their employer so that they can work on whatever changes are needed to help prevent further damage. If you suffer an MSD or other job-related medical condition that affects your ability to work, you should seek workers' compensation so that you and your family don't suffer financially for an on-the-job injury.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Ergonomics - Safety and Health Topics," accessed Dec. 31, 2015

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