The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has updated its 20-year-old guide to ergonomics to reflect a stronger emphasis on the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs).
Though the 1997 primer “Elements of Ergonomic Program” remains an active document/reference guide for NIOSH, a new partner webpage increases the focus on WMSDs and the necessary steps employers and workers should take to prevent them and other injuries related to ergonomics.
In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 31 percent, or 356,910 cases, of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were caused by musculoskeletal disorders. Of those WMSDs, the median time away from work was 12 days for each affected employee. When compared to the median time away from work from other work-related injuries, which is recorded as 8 days, it is clear that poor ergonomics training and WMSDs cost businesses more than other injuries.
NIOSH’s strengthened ergonomics webpage offers a six-step program designed to help employers identify, implement, evaluate, and maintain ways to better protect workers against WMSDs.
In our July video series, “Safety Hurdles in Health Care,” one of the episodes focused on strains, sprains and other WMSDs often suffered by health care workers. Given the physicality involved in their jobs, workers in hospitals, assisted living facilities and other health care workplaces often face a greater risk of WMSDs. Check out our safety video below.
Ergonomics also comes into play with office workers. Here’s a Safety Minute Update video on 5 tips for better ergonomic posture at the office! Don’t forget to get up, stretch, and walk around during the day. Don’t sit behind a desk for 8 hours straight!