OSHA Defense

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Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Workers in the construction industry are at risk of succumbing to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. MSDs are commonly associated with actions like heavy lifting, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling hefty loads, performing tasks in awkward or unnatural positions, and repeating the same motion over and over again. Since these actions occur regularly on the construction site and greatly increase an employee’s risk of injury, contractors should be aware of the various measures for preventing work-related MSDs.

In this article, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss one of the best ways to prevent MSDs from affecting your workers: ergonomics. Ergonomics requires contractors to pair jobs with those best suited to complete them, thereby reducing muscle fatigue, increasing productivity, and mitigating the frequency of work-related injuries.

Examples of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Some of the most common examples of MSDs include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Epicondylitis
  • Lower back injuries
  • Muscle strains
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Trigger finger

MSDs in the workplace can lead to a loss of efficiency and wasted work time. Employees who attempt to work through these injuries typically exacerbate the issue or fail to complete their tasks at a satisfactory level, contributing to missed timelines and increasing the probability of an OSHA violation.

Tips for Protecting Workers

Contractors are responsible for maintaining safe project sites. This includes identifying and eliminating workplace hazards, but it also includes managing physical overexertion by promoting ergonomic principles. Some examples of how contractors can implement ergonomic processes into their project sites include:

  • Encouraging management to support ergonomic processes.
  • Involving workers in project site assessments.
  • Consulting workers about the best practices for fighting against MSDs.
  • Encouraging an open-door policy for reporting potential ergonomic issues.
  • Providing training in industry best practices for preventing MSDs.
  • Identifying problems early on before they blossom into MSD-related injuries.
  • Insisting that workers report any MSD symptoms as soon as they arise.
  • Implementing hazard control solutions.
  • Evaluating the progress of preventative MSD measures.

Remember, these principles should be impressed upon workers regularly, not on a case-by-case basis. Due to the severity and frequency of MSD-related injuries, it’s vital that workers are informed of the industry best practices for mitigating this dangerous condition.

If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.