Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) is one of the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time, accounting for 33% of all work injury and illness cases in 2013. Companies across the US spent $50 billion in direct costs for MSD cases in 2011 and indirect costs can be as much as five times that amount. The average MSD has a direct cost of around $15,000. Most importantly, MSDs are preventable. So, what exactly is musculoskeletal disorder and how can you prevent it in your facility? Read on to find out.
What is Musculoskeletal Disorder?
Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc). Some of the most common MSDs include, tendonitis, muscle/tendon strain, degenerative disc disease, thoracic outlet compression, carpel tunnel syndrome, and many more. There are three primary ergonomic causes for these injuries; high task repetition, exerting excessive force, and unsupported positions that a worker must hold for long periods of time. Research conducted by ErgoPlus revealed that MSDs cost the average business $264,434 per year. Employees report MSDs requiring 11 days away from work compared to 8 days with the average illness or injury.
How Can Anti-Fatigue Mats Help?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing employees are working an average of 40.5 hours a week, with a large percentage of employees spending most of that time on their feet. Prolonged periods of time spent standing in unsupported positions restricts blood flow, which causes a variety of MSDs. The use of premium quality anti-fatigue mats in areas where standing work is performed provides a balance of comfort and support needed to prevent unnecessary MSDs. Anti-fatigue mats help relieve muscle fatigue by stimulating blood circulation throughout the body. However, finding the perfect balance between comfort and support can be tricky. Allan Shelly, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SATECH Inc. says that, “There must be enough instability to encourage small postural changes that facilitate increased blood flow to and from working muscles, but not so much that it requires excessive muscular activity that might accelerate fatigue. Extreme levels of instability, caused by overly soft mats, increase the risk of loss of balance and affect overall body posture.”
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