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Preventing musculoskeletal injuries before they can occur

Musculoskeletal disorders occur in a variety of work settings. These disorders often affect nerves and tendons as well as muscles. Body areas that are subject to MSDs include the lower back, the upper extremities and the neck. Much of the focus on workplace injuries usually revolves around catastrophic traumas like amputations or head injuries but MSDs are responsible for a great many lost workdays. Naturally, this has a negative effect on the North Carolina workforce and can trickle down to affect the growth of the state's many industries as well.

Those who have already suffered MSDs in the workplace can usually count on workers' compensation to help them get through the healing process, which often means missing work. Alternatively, a workers' comp attorney can also help victims of MSDs find additional resources to ease them through the rough patches. However, for those who remain uninjured despite the risks of MSDs, prevention is the best medicine.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration employers can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries or disorders by putting an ergonomics process in place. Developed to protect workers, an ergonomics plan typically incorporates strong management support with vigorous employee training. Other elements of an effective prevention plan can include:

-- Putting solutions for hazard control in place-- Ongoing evaluation of the ergonomics system's progress-- Encouraging employees to report signs of MSD-- Assessing and identifying problem areas-- Involving employees in assessing problems in the work environment

By working to eliminate factors that cause MSDs, employers have a more effective workforce at their disposal and employees benefit by not missing work hours. This creates a harmonious and productive environment with fewer workers' compensation claims and minimal attorney intervention -- a winning solution for all involved.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace," accessed Aug. 25, 2015

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Jay Gervasi, P.A.
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