Reducing job-related injuries isn't a new idea. It's part of every health and safety program. If your eyes were in danger of injury, you'd reduce the risk by wearing safety goggles. Controlling your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is no different. Once you identify a risk factor, you can use ergonomic principles to control it. By taking responsibility for your health and well-being, you help prevent future injury and control any present symptoms.
Each person's body deals with risks differently. Five people might do the same exact tasks, but only one of them may develop an MSD. What if you're that one? No one can predict. That's why it's important to take responsibility for yourself. Be willing to make changes that reduce your risk of injury.
Talk with your supervisor if you think you're at risk. Then work together to plan a risk-reduction program that includes the four steps listed below.
Identify risk factors: Pinpoint the specific tasks or actions that increase your likelihood of developing an MSD.
Assess the level of risk: How serious a threat is it? Measure how much contact (exposure) you have with risk factors by considering variables such as duration, frequency and force.
Reduce the risk: Work with your supervisor to find ways of stopping or controlling risk factors. You may need to make several changes before your risk really decreases.
Monitor the situation: Be sure the controls are working and your exposure to risk factors is actually reduced.