Reducing Risk of Work-related MSDs: Part of Your Health and Safety Program

Reducing job-related injuries isn't a new idea. It's part of every health and safety program. If your eyes were in danger of injury, you'd lower the risk by wearing safety goggles. Controlling your risk of getting a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WRMSD) is no different. Once you find a risk factor, you can use ergonomic principles to control it. By taking responsibility for your health and well-being, you help prevent future injury and control any present symptoms.

Take ergonomics personally

Each person's body deals with risks differently. Five people might do the same exact tasks. But only 1 of them may get an MSD. What if you're that 1? No one can predict. That's why it's vital to take responsibility for yourself. Be willing to make changes that lower your risk of injury.

Plan to lower risks

Talk with your supervisor if you think you're at risk. Then work together to plan a risk-reduction program that includes the four steps listed below.

  • Identify risk factors. Pinpoint the specific tasks or actions that raise your chance of getting an MSD.

  • Assess the level of risk. How serious a threat is it? Measure how much contact (exposure) you have with risk factors by thinking about variables such as duration, frequency, and force.

  • Lower the risk. Work with your supervisor to find ways of stopping or controlling risk factors. You may need to make several changes before your risk really goes down.

  • Monitor the situation. Be sure the controls are working and your exposure to risk factors is in fact lowered.

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