MSDS , also known as repetitive motion disorders or cumulative trauma disorders, are the fastest growing type of occupational illness and injury. MSDs now account for more than half of occupations and affect a wide range of jobs from meat packers to data entry clerks to painter to cashiers.
Musculoskeletal disorder is the name for a number of painful and sometimes crippling conditions that can affect you muscles, bones, and nervous system. They’re caused by making the same by making the same motion over and over, by vibrations, sustained or awkward positions, or be exposed to noise over long periods of time.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the common MSD. It is what happens when the nerve that runs through a passageway in the write called the carpal tunnel typing, assembly work, or pushing cash register buttons, as well as activities as using tools that vibrate or force the hand into awkward position. Although it affect the wrist, it can cause pain or numbness in the hand and sometimes the arm.
There are two ways to identify possible MSD hazard. One is to conduct an analysis of tools, workstations layout, and work procedures. You look for potential problems and awkward position and make improvements before serious problems develop.
Often, MSD hazards are identified by workers themselves. Only you know when you’re forcing your body into a position the strain some part of it. Only you can say which tool feels comfortable in your hand and which one doesn’t. So you have a very important role to play in helping this company uncover possible MSD problems before it’s times to call in the doctors.
That’s why it’s so important for you to be able to recognize the symptoms of MSD. There’s nothing very exotic about these symptoms, but they can get pretty painful if you don’t tend to them early. If you have these feeling in your hand, wrist, or arm, let me know – especially if your job involves any of the common causes of MSDS.
While it may sound like MSDs go with the territory in certain jobs, there are ways to prevent them. Prevention, like identification, is partly up to the company and partly up to you.
The company’s goal is to improve what is called the ergonomic of the workplace. Ergonomic is a science that recognizes that each individual’s body is different. It tries to design tasks to fit the individual rather than forcing the body to adapt to the tasks. Awkward stretching and stretching and reaching or uncomfortable postures can be reduced by using tilting or adjustable-height work surfaces or even simply by placing ins, supplies, and trash containers within comfortable and easy reach. Some task can be changed so that mechanical or power-assisted equipment, rather than a human arm or hand, does more of the work.
The tools being redesigned for greater comfort and to reduce the need for steady force, contracting muscles, or awkward finger, hand, or arm positions. Tool manufactures are coming out with lighter-weight tools and with different tools for right and left-handers. They’re reducing the strain with rounded, cushioned handles, textured grips, and tow-finger riggers.
For starters, become conscious of the type of movements you make and how often you make them. How do they feel? Do you stand or sit for long periods in the same position? Are you working in a position that’s not natural for your body? If so, look for ways to change how you do the job to reduce the strain on you body.
The company will work with you to find ways to prevent pain and discomfort. If you are assigned a new repetitive motion task, we may have you break into it gradually so your body can get conditioned. If you’re already performing a regular movements and to structure you job so you alternate task that require different movements and different muscles. We may also have to schedule periodic breaks from the repetitive motion.
You can also do a few simple exercises that will help you prevent MSDs. For instance, try stretching your arms and upper body a few times before you state work. During breaks, shake out your hands and fingers. Another easy exercise is to gently press you hand on a flat surface your fingers and wrist for about five seconds.
The other key part of preventing serious repetitive motion disorders is to catch them early. If you identify a problem in the early stages, you may be able to get relief by using:
Ice, aspirin, or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation
Special exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles.
Don’t take a chance on waiting until your problem becomes serious. That may mean switching to light-duty tasks while your body heals, and maybe even physical therapy. If the pain or numbness is so bad it’s impossible to work or do mush else, you’ll probably need surgery. But surgery doesn’t always work, so ignoring the problem could mean permanent pain and damage.