Did you know that MSDs are the leading cause of pain, suffering and disability in the American workplace today?
It’s true. And it’s unfortunate because MSDs are preventable.
The truly unfortunate part about it is that a simple change in philosophy would empower organizations to prevent nearly ALL MSDs.
Your employees wouldn’t have to suffer through the painful experience of an injury that can have long lasting effects on their health and ability to provide an income for their families.
Your organization wouldn’t have to suffer high worker’s compensation / medical costs, lower productivity, lower product quality and a damaged safety culture.
This game-changing philosophy is what we are going to unpack with you over the course of the eight lessons inside this MSD Prevention 101 workshop. It’s an accumulation of over 25 years of hands-on experience preventing MSDs for clients. (The average Ergonomics Plus client reduces MSD-related worker’s compensation costs by 78% within four years of service implementation.)
We hope you find the lessons helpful and get a ton of value out of the workshop. Your role as a safety leader going through this workshop is to learn how to empower your organization to prevent MSDs in a consistent and predictable way. Our job is to equip you with the tools and training you need to make a major impact on your organization through a successful MSD prevention process.
Ready to get started?
It all begins with a clear understanding of what MSDs are and what they are not.
And that leads us to the question …
What is a “Musculoskeletal Disorder” (MSD)?
A musculoskeletal disorder is simply an injury or disorder to the human body’s musculoskeletal (or “movement”) system.
The musculoskeletal system is made up of tendons, ligaments, nerves, soft tissue, etc. and is designed to enable your body to move. You can think of an MSD as a “movement system disorder”.
What happens is that over the course of time, micro-trauma to the soft tissues begins to outrun the body’s recovery system. This creates a muscle imbalance that, over the course of time, develops into an MSD.
Common MSDs include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle / Tendon strain
- Ligament Sprain
- Tension Neck Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Compression
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Radial Tunnel Syndrome
- Digital Neuritis
- Trigger Finger / Thumb
- DeQuervain’s Syndrome
- Mechanical Back Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Ruptured / Herniated Disc,
- and many more.
What an MSD is NOT
We need to set the record straight on this one. The language you use to describe MSDs is important and often indicative of how successful you will be in preventing them.
A “musculoskeletal disorder” is not a “repetitive motion injury” or an “ergonomic injury” or any other term.
There is no “repetitive motion” part of the human body. There is no “ergonomics” in the human body. A musculoskeletal disorder is a musculoskeletal disorder. It’s an injury/disorder to the human body’s musculoskeletal system.
Using “repetitive motion” or “ergonomic” or any other term besides musculoskeletal disorder to describe these injuries is an attempt to designate a singular cause to the injury. This will always hinder your MSD prevention efforts because there is no singular cause of MSDs.
One of the biggest MSD prevention mistakes you can make is to designate a singular cause of MSDs. If you fall into this trap, prepare to be constantly baffled that MSDs keep plaguing your workforce.
Think about it. If you believe repetitive motion is the singular cause of MSDs, then you will reduce repetitive motion in your workplace.
That should be good enough to prevent MSDs, right? After all, it’s only a “repetitive motion” injury, right?
You missed awkward postures. You missed excessive force. You missed body mechanics and work practices. You missed work readiness. And you missed all the other causes of MSDs.
Do you see how the language around MSDs can impact the way you approach preventing them? Understanding MSDs and knowing what causes them provides a clear path to establishing an MSD prevention process that has a chance to succeed.
That leads us into Lesson 2 – The Cause of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). In the next lesson, you’ll learn exactly what causes the most common and costly injuries in the workplace today. This lesson provides the framework you’ll need to develop a world class MSD prevention process. After all, you can’t prevent something if you don’t know what causes it. Let’s get to the root of the problem in lesson 2.
Lesson 1 Key Takeaways
- MSDs are the leading cause of pain, suffering and disability in the U.S. workforce.
- MSDs are preventable. A simple change in philosophy would empower organizations to prevent nearly ALL MSDs.
- MSDs are injuries and disorders to the body’s musculoskeletal or movement system, and can be thought of as “Movement System Disorders”.
- An MSD is an MSD, and NOT a “repetitive motion” or “ergonomic” injury. The language you use is important because there is no singular cause of MSDs.