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What are musculoskeletal disorders?

Ergonomics is an important work topic as it relates to ensuring that a person has what they need to do their job safely. This can mean, for example, equipping a factory worker with something supportive to stand on to prevent back or leg stress or getting an office worker the right desk chair to make sure their seat is appropriate for their body. The failure of an employer to help a worker fit into the requirements of their job can lead to serious on-the-job injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders.

Musculoskeletal disorders involve damage to muscles and the connective tissues that support them. They can result from workers doing repetitive motions in an unsafe way, such as an industrial worker consistently reaching in an awkward way to access their tools or an office worker holding their arms at an inappropriate angle to reach their keyboard. Over time, musculoskeletal disorders can develop into significant and painful conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic back injuries.

Once a worker develops a musculoskeletal disorder, it can be difficult for them to go on working. They may need to take time off to recuperate and to receive the medical support required to undue the stress and pain their work-related injury has caused.

During their period of recovery, a worker may be entitled to compensation from their employer. Generally, when a worker is off their duties, they do not receive pay. To keep individuals financially afloat when they are injured, workers’ compensation may be available. Those who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders are encouraged to get the help they need to recover from their injuries.