To reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, Minnesota employers are encouraged to provide ergonomics training to their employees. Examples of MSDs include back strains and carpal tunnel syndrome, and these injuries can result in lost productivity, increased turnover and increased workers compensation costs. There are some common factors that can produce an MSD over time, and the most common one is repetition.
Other factors include force, contact stress that occurs when making contact with a hard surface and vibration. Sitting in an awkward posture can also increase the likelihood of suffering a sprain or strain. Employers can make workplaces safer by putting commonly used items and equipment where they can easily be reached. They should also encourage proper lifting technique, which may include encouraging team lifting.
Workers should be allowed to rotate through several tasks throughout the day to avoid repetition. Reducing the number of times a worker must reach, squat or kneel could help prevent both minor and serious injuries. Hands and wrists should never be bent awkwardly or improperly while working as that could cause pain and force a worker to miss time. At all times, workers and managers alike should be evaluating workspaces and given the ability to make or discuss changes as necessary.
Although workers’ compensation is more commonly associated with an injury incurred in a workplace accident, it is also designed to provide benefits to employees who contract an occupational disease or whose injuries evolve over a period of time, such as an MSD. Because these types of situations are often more difficult to document as opposed to a specific occurrence, having the assistance of an attorney when preparing and submitting a claim for benefits may be advisable.