Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include a number of physical conditions affecting muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, and other soft tissues that can be caused, or exacerbated, by work. It is estimated that MSDs account for approximately one-third of injury and illness costs in U.S. industry. Many musculoskeletal conditions can result specifically in chronic or short-term joint pain. One example of joint pain is arthritis, which is the leading cause of work disability, according to the CDC. Arthritis is a condition in which the cartilage surfaces between bones wears away resulting in bone rubbing on bone. In 2007, the annual cost of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions was reported to be $128 billion (MMWR, 2007). This total included an estimated $47 billion in lost earnings. The prevalence of arthritis in the U.S. is projected to increase to nearly 67 million (25% of the adult population) by the year 2030 with 25 million (9.3% of the adult population) projected to be limited in their physical activity because of the condition (Hootman and Helmick, 2006). Working-age adults (45-64 years) will account for almost one-third of arthritis cases. Workplace programs in the areas of safety, ergonomics, wellness, and disability management can all play a role in preventing joint pain and preserving joint health in working individuals of all ages.
Safer Healthier Workers
Select Month: October 2012
October 29th, 2012 9:05 am ET - Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; Brent A. Baker, PhD, ATC; Jim Grosch, PhD, MBA
October 24th, 2012 8:33 am ET - Jim Helmkamp, PhD, MS
Over the past 30 years, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have grown increasingly popular recreationally and have become a valuable asset at work. With an estimated 11 million in use in 2010 for both work and recreation, ATVs have become a common means of transportation.
ATVs were first manufactured in the late 1960s as farm-to-town vehicles for use in isolated, mountainous areas in Japan. They were first introduced in the U.S. for agricultural applications in the early 1980s. ATVs have many unique features that enable them to operate in a variety of harsh environments where other larger, less mobile vehicles cannot be used, making them very useful in the workplace.
October 11th, 2012 8:12 am ET - Janet Ehlers, RN, MSN, COHC and Pamela S. Graydon, MS, COHC
Meet Nick. Nick is a training mannequin who helps NIOSH teach young people and their families about preventing noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss can result from working around noise–even non-powered hand tools–without wearing proper hearing protection. It is not uncommon for a 25 year-old farmer or carpenter to have the hearing of a 50 year-old. In fact, 33% of all people who are exposed to hazardous noise at work will develop noise-induced hearing loss. You don’t have to work on a farm or at a factory to be at risk; common noise sources around your house – such as lawnmowers, power tools, and music systems – can be hazardous to your hearing. It is the sum of all of your exposures to sound throughout the day and evening that add together to damage hearing when that total becomes excessive. Even the young are at risk. In the general population, approximately 15% of those between ages 6 and 19 show signs of impaired hearing.[i] One study found that over 30% of high school boys who live or work on a farm have hearing loss[ii]. We need to protect this and the next generation of workers.
October 5th, 2012 1:56 pm ET - Stephanie Pratt, PhD
- A 45-year-old salesperson was killed in a motor vehicle crash while traveling to meet with clients.
- A 26-year-old emergency medical technician died when the ambulance she was in was struck head-on by a pickup truck traveling more than 70 miles per hour in the wrong lane of a two-lane road.
- A 42-year-old construction foreman lost his life as his company truck plowed into a slower-moving petroleum tanker.
- A 21-year-old highway worker died after a dump truck loaded with asphalt backed over him during a nighttime paving operation.
These are only a few examples of lives lost due to motor vehicle crashes at work. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related death in the United States. Risk of work-related motor vehicle crashes cuts across all industries and occupations. Workers who drive on the job may be “professional” drivers whose primary job is to transport freight or passengers. Many other workers spend a substantial part of the work day driving a vehicle owned or leased by their employer, or a personal vehicle.
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