June 8, 2015
While every job industry sees work-related injuries, the type and frequency of injuries vary greatly. Trends in injuries that accumulate over time, especially those that require time away from work, are being increasingly monitored. Preventing injuries has become a priority, and successfully doing so has led to increased production and morale and a decrease in unnecessary cost. The injuries that have the most negative impact across the board are strains/sprains and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).
Industries with the most strains and sprains
Strains and sprains are injuries to the muscles and ligaments, and they usually happen in a single incident. They are common to a number of fields and can result in a several different outcomes. The sectors that incur the most strains and sprains are nursing; manual material handlers and laborers; and tractor-trailer truck drivers. These injuries are often the result of overexertion, especially to the shoulders, back, hips, and legs. Strains and sprains may not seem like major injuries, but when severe, can take months to heal. Working with an injury before it is fully healed can reinjure the site or even worsen the initial injury. This can lead to other chronic problems that affect the longevity of an employee’s career. When disability is the result of strain or sprain, it not only financially affects the employer, but also dampers the quality of life in the injured person. If left unable to work, a person with strain or sprain can suffer a financial crisis as well.
MSDs – Musculoskeletal Disorders
MSDs are a category of injury that can also affect the muscles and ligaments, but usually happen over time. When these injuries are finally apparent, they often are already chronic and at least somewhat debilitating. MSDs result from constant repetitive movement like twisting, climbing, pushing, pulling, bending, reaching, and gripping. Affected areas are discs (in the spine), joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and cartilage. Many injuries are classified as MSDs; some of the MSDs more commonly known are carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, and pain in the muscles. MSDs often require not only time away from work and doctor’s care, but also physical therapy or rehabilitation. In severe cases, surgery is required. MSDs can create lifelong issues for the injured employee and a number of problems for the employer. The same three occupations that lead in sprains and strains also report the most MSDs each year.
Provide ergonomic solutions for the safety of your employees
Ergonomics has been very successful in preventing and reducing work-related injuries. It seems that there is no job unable to benefit from ergonomic analysis and implementation. Based on the number of injuries reported each year, there are still areas of opportunity. As technology and research develop, employers will be even better equipped to provide a safe working environment for employees and a business that runs smoothly and efficiently for patrons.