Poor Ergonomic Set-Up
The term “ergonomics” is defined simply as the study of work. The science of ergonomics involves designing the tools and spaces of the job to fit the worker, rather than forcing the worker’s physical body to fit the job. Adapting work stations, tasks, tools, and equipment to fit the worker can reduce physical stress on the worker’s body and eliminate many potentially severe and disabling work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
A workplace with a poor ergonomic set-up can lead to debilitating injury for many workers. Prolonged exposure to ergonomic risk factors often leads to MSDs and injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics now recognizes MSDs as a serious workplace health hazard, causing one-third of all lost workday cases today. A poor ergonomic set-up will be costly for the employer, as injured employees can seek recovery under the Maine Workers’ Compensation system for injuries resulting from these job conditions.Work-Related MSDs
MSDs are disorders or injuries of the soft tissues, which include the ligaments, muscles, tendons, joints, and cartilage, as well as of the peripheral nervous system. Doctors often refer to these injuries as overuse injuries, repetitive stress injuries, cumulative trauma disorders, and occupational overexertion syndrome.
MSDs are painful and disabling, and often develop gradually over weeks, months, or even years. While MSDs can evolve due to a variety of circumstances, work-related MSDs are most common. Work-related MSDs occur when the physical capabilities of the worker do not match the physical demands of the job. Exposure to ergonomic risk factors leads to MSDs.
The following work related conditions are most likely to cause MSDs:
- Exerting excessive force
- Repetition of movements
- Awkward postures or unsupported positions
- Static postures, such as when the worker must hold a certain position for a long period of time
- Quick motions
- Compression, from grasping sharp objects like tool handles
- Inadequate recovery time due to a lack of breaks, overtime, and failure to vary tasks
- Cold temperatures
Work-related MSD injuries can be difficult to recognize as the pain is often diffuse and intermittent. MSDs can affect nearly every tissue in the human body, from the nerves and tendons to the sheaths and muscles. The most frequently affected areas of the body are the arms and back, but the hands and wrists are also commonly involved. The following is a list of symptoms of work-related MSDs:
- Numbness in your arms, hands and fingers
- Numbness in your legs, feet and toes
- Difficulty moving
- Stiff joints
- Neck and back pain
While workers in any field can develop MSDs due to poor ergonomic set up, the employees in the following fields most frequently suffer from these injuries:
- Nurses aides, attendants, orderlies
- Truck drivers
- Cleaners and janitors
- Registered nurses
- Stock handlers and baggers
- Construction laborers
MSDs are preventable if employers establish an ergonomics program. Unfortunately, many employers continue to overlook this serious danger in the workplace. Workers who develop injuries due to poor ergonomic set-up at work may seek compensation for lost time, payment of medical bills, and more.
MSDs and other disorders linked to poor ergonomic set-up are often the most challenging workers’ compensation claims as it can be difficult to establish that the injury arose out of and in the course of employment rather than regular activities of daily living, sports, other hobbies, or even genetic predisposition. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Maine Employee Rights Group can help you get the compensation you deserve for injuries caused by poor ergonomic set-up.Maine Employee Rights Group: Top Benefits for Injured Workers
At Maine Employee Rights Group, we will aggressively pursue your workers’ compensation claim to ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. Our experienced firm of dedicated professionals is known for our talent in the field of workers’ compensation and dedication to our injured clients. Call us today at 207.874.0905 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys.