Prevention of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Warm-ups are a part of every game, so it is unlikely that this will happen. The benefits of increased blood flow to the muscles to reduce injury – whether it’s professional athletes, your child playing soccer, or you going on a hike – are well-documented. Although it seems impossible for anyone to “cold” engage in intense physical activity, this is common at work and can cause pain, discomfort, and musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs).

This doesn’t mean that exercise and other fitness programs will solve all work-related MSDs. Unfortunately, workplace fitness and exercise programs still pose risks and hazards for MSDs. This means that workers are still at risk from work-related MSDs.

Remember that MSDs will be the most common workplace injury in 2020. They are also the leading cause of worker disability, involuntary retirement, and limitations to gainful work. This could cost businesses billions in lost productivity, compensation and missed work. Many employers and workers are turning to new technology and exercise program trends to address this major workplace problem. The MSD Solutions Lab research group has released new findings highlighting promising ways to prevent these injuries and help workers manage pain and discomfort.

The newly published white paper ” Preventing work-related muscular disorders: A systematic review of current interventions and future research directions” was released by the MSD Solutions Lab research group. They analyzed almost 60 scientific studies and academic publications, initially identifying 13,500 articles. This allowed them to identify promising initiatives that employers can use to prevent MSDs in the workplace. After rigorous inclusion criteria were applied, the paper examines cognitive processes, physical modifications, and organizational change management interventions. This includes a comparison of studies from the top 10 affected industries. It was discovered that physical modifications are the most commonly studied category of MSD solutions. There are many promising interventions to reduce MSD-related discomfort, pain or injury, including:

* Equipment for patient transfers* Exosuits and exoskeletons

* Load-reducing devices such as robotic wheelchairs or assisted construction lifts

* A combination of a Stages-of-Change Behavior Model and a Physical Modification Intervention

* Health campaigns that combine a physical modification intervention such as sitting-stand desks.

* Resistance band stretching and training

MSD prevention interventions that combine a cognitive process or organizational change management intervention with a physical modification intervention are the most effective. This means that organizations must adopt a multi-faceted approach to MSD prevention. Success on the job is not just about physical fitness. It’s also important to be a professional athlete. Employers must be able to adapt to different work populations, get employee feedback, and then further examine the effectiveness of their interventions before implementing them widely.

This white paper is one of many research insights that the MSD Solutions Lab has provided to help identify and address knowledge gaps. The National Safety Council MSD Pledge is a unique global initiative that will help to advance these efforts and make millions of workers safer. It unites organizations worldwide to reduce MSD risk and injuries by 25% by 2025.

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