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Reducing Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs): Your Role

It takes more than planning to prevent or control musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Be willing to accept new ideas and make changes in your workday. Anytime you receive training, put your new knowledge to use. Once you know the proper way to do a job or use a tool, do it right every time. If you're aware, you can often spot and control a risk factor before it leads to an injury.

Two women adjusting height of office chair. Man punching timecard in background. If you share workstation, you may need to adjust equipment and materials to meet your needs before starting work. Mark individual settings, such as chair heights, to make this quicker and easier.

Identify and assess risks

Many people don't know they're at risk of an MSD until they begin having discomfort. This needn't be true for you. Read about risk factors for MSDs. Look for any risk factors you're exposed to, then talk with your supervisor. He or she can help determine the level of risk. If you're already noticing MSD symptoms, such as ongoing muscle fatigue or numbness, a medical evaluation can also help assess your risk.

Reduce risks

Reducing your risk of an MSD doesn't have to be costly or complicated. In many cases, improving body posture and rearranging your workspace can make a big difference. Be sure to apply these ergonomic principles at home, too. Whether you're carrying groceries or working on a hobby, keeping a safe body position has a lot to do with reducing your risk of injury.

Monitor and communicate

Ongoing awareness and communication also play a big role in reducing the risk of MSDs. Don't forget about a problem just because you've made an effort to control it. As time passes, try to notice if your risk truly is being reduced. Also, make sure the control measures aren't causing any new problems that could become risks. And be sure to let your supervisor know how well the controls are working. In some cases, a little fine-tuning may be needed.


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