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Selected Category: Ergonomics

National Doughnut Day

Categories: Ergonomics, Respiratory Health, Service Sector, Young Workers

Whether you are celebrating National Doughnut Day today with the traditional glazed or a trendy bacon-infused delicacy, take a moment to think about those who bring you these sugary breakfast treats.  We are not passing judgment nor endorsing your breakfast selection (that question is better addressed by you and your nutritionist) but instead encouraging all of us to consider the potential health risks faced by those workers who make the 10 billion doughnuts produced every year in the U.S.[i]. Lest you think we are killing your doughnut-induced sugar buzz, you should know that the first National Doughnut Day was created for workers.  The Salvation Army created the day in 1938 to “honor the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.”[ii]

Persistent Pain in the Neck! What Resources Help you Prevent MSDs in the Workplace?

Categories: Ergonomics, Manufacturing

Repetitive tasks, awkward postures, twisting and turning, or forceful exertions at work are often associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as neck or back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendinitis. These are disorders or injuries that affect muscles, tendons, nerves, discs, ligaments, etc. They remain a leading work-related condition. About 30% of all injuries and illnesses involving lost days from work are associated with repetitive motion and/or overexertion (BLS).

Joint Pain in the Workplace

Categories: Ergonomics, Manufacturing, Total Worker Health

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.

Safety and Health in the Theater: Keeping Tragedy out of the Comedies…and Musicals…and Dramas

Categories: Chemicals, Construction, Ergonomics, Exposure, Hearing Loss, Sports and Entertainment

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.

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