Reducing Risk of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs): Your Role

It takes more than planning to prevent or control work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Be willing to accept new ideas and make changes in your workday. When you get training, put your new knowledge to use. Once you know the correct way to do a job or use a tool, do it right every time. If you're aware, you can often spot and control a risk factor before it leads to an injury.

Identify and assess risks

Many people don't know they're at risk of an MSD until they start having discomfort. This needn't be true for you. Read about risk factors for MSDs. Look for any risk factors you're exposed to. Then talk with your supervisor. They can help find out the level of risk. If you're already noticing MSD symptoms, such as ongoing muscle fatigue or numbness, a health evaluation can also help gauge your risk.

Reduce risks

Reducing your risk of an MSD doesn't have to be costly or complex. In many cases, improving body posture and rearranging your workspace can make a big difference. Be sure to use these ergonomic principles at home, too. Whether you're carrying groceries or working on a hobby, keeping a safe body position has a lot to do with reducing your risk of injury.

Monitor and communicate

Ongoing awareness and communication also play a big role in reducing the risk of MSDs. Don't forget about a problem just because you've made an effort to control it. As time passes, try to notice if your risk truly is being reduced. Also, make sure the control measures aren't causing any new problems that could become risks. And be sure to let your manager know how well the controls are working. In some cases, a little fine-tuning may be needed.

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