One of the most common musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which occur in an office environment is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in which the median nerve in the wrist is compressed when the tendons around the nerve swell or thicken. OSHA has noted that many work-related MSDs are preventable through ergonomics, and MSDs, which include muscle strains, rotator cuff injuries and tendinitis, are the most frequently reported cause of lost and restricted work time.
What are the factors?
The incidence of MSDs in the workplace depends on many different factors, such as the work position, the worker’s posture, the task and level of effort. Although typing is a big cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, there are other risk factors, such as:
- Performing the same tasks repeatedly or for an extended period of time
- Working in an awkward position; for example, leaning over a counter or having to reach overhead repeatedly
- Cold temperatures, such as working in a chilled environment
- Localized pressure on a part of the body, such as pressing the hand against a sharp edge, like a keyboard
- Vibration of the hand and arm or the whole body; for example, using a drill or grinder
Ergonomics in the workplace can help.
OSHA recommends that employers identify potential problems and train employees to use ergonomic resources. Employers should also encourage early reporting of symptoms to reduce the progression of an MSD and the development of more serious issues. Likewise, employees should report any work-related injuries to the employer in a timely manner. This helps to ensure that the employee receives full and fair workers’ compensation benefits.
MSDs and Workers’ Compensation
Workplace injuries are very common, but pursuing a workers’ compensation claim for an MSD can be challenging. If you are dealing with a repetitive motion injury, you might want to seek help from an attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims. A lawyer with experience in this complex area of law can help you prove your case and get the benefits you need for medical care and lost wages.