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
Selected Category: Ergonomics
October 29th, 2012 9:05 am ET - Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; Brent A. Baker, PhD, ATC; Jim Grosch, PhD, MBA
June 11th, 2012 11:05 am ET - Gregory A. Burr, CIH and Deborah Hornback, MS
On Sunday, the 2012 Tony Awards celebrated the year’s best offerings from “The Great White Way.” While the theater provides entertainment, the preparation and production of live performances can also pose hazards to those working in all aspects of the theater –from actors on stage to set designers behind the scenes and musicians in the orchestra pit. Some of these hazards were well publicized in recent years as multiple actors and stunt doubles were injured during the production of Spiderman, Turn off the Dark. These injuries included harness failure, injuries sustained during flying sequences and actors struck by equipment[i]. With the complexities of a theatrical production, there are numerous potential hazards. In fact, one hazard, a falling backdrop, is portrayed in the musical The Phantom of the Opera. But the Phantom wasn’t to blame when a large backdrop hit Bret Michaels on the head after performing with the cast of Rock of Ages during the 2009 Tony Awards [ii]. Other potential hazards in the theater include rigging and flying hazards, repetitive strain injuries among dancers and carpenters, solvent and chemical exposures, noise-induced hearing loss, electrical hazards, falls from heights, as well as most hazards found on a construction site.
April 16th, 2010 12:45 pm ET - Traci Galinsky, PhD, and Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA
You hope the discharge planner was a good one. You hope the doors aren’t too narrow for the wheelchair and the bed is higher than knee-level. Even then, as likely as not, your work area will be the size of a crawlspace and strewn with clutter and medical equipment.
Welcome to life as a home healthcare provider. In 2007, America’s 896,800 home healthcare workers reported a staggering 27,400 injuries.1 Some of these resulted from unintentional needlesticks, latex allergies, and violence against providers. However, the most common injuries were sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries related to lifting and moving patients.
The rate of patient lifting injuries in 2007 was 20.5 per 10,000 healthcare workers.2 In homes, the lifting equipment and adjustable beds that are often available in hospitals are conspicuously absent.
September 22nd, 2008 9:00 am ET - Administrator
Healthcare workers often experience musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at a rate exceeding that of workers in construction, mining, and manufacturing.1 These injuries are due in large part to repeated manual patient handling activities, often involving heavy manual lifting associated with transferring, and repositioning patients and working in extremely awkward postures. The problem of lifting patients is compounded by the increasing weight of patients to be lifted due to the obesity epidemic in the United States and the rapidly increasing number of older people who require assistance with the activities of daily living.2,3
Direct and indirect costs associated with back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated to be $20 billion annually.4 Additionally, nursing aides and orderlies suffer the highest prevalence (18.8%) and report the most annual cases (269,000) of work-related back pain among female workers in the United States.5 In 2000, 10,983 registered nurses (RNs) suffered lost-time work injuries due to lifting patients. Twelve percent of nurses report that they left the nursing profession because of back pain.6
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