Office & Ergonomic Safety

EHS Office Safety

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Office & Ergonomic Safety

 

Overview

OSHA has a four-pronged comprehensive approach to ergonomics designed to quickly and effectively address musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. The four segments of OSHA's strategy for reducing injuries and illnesses from MSDs in the workplace are establishing guides, enforcement, outreach and assistance, and the establishment of a National Advisory Committee.

Employers should consider an MSD to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the MSD, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing MSD as required by OSHA's recordkeeping rule (29 CFR 1904).  For example, when an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome, the employer needs to look at the hand activity required for the job and the amount of time spent doing the activity.  If an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome and his or her job requires frequent hand activity, or forceful exertions or sustained awkward hand positions, then the problem may be work-related.  If the job requires very little hand activity, then the disorder may not be work-related.

Activities outside of the workplace that involve substantial physical demands may also cause or contribute to MSDs (1). In addition, development of MSDs may be related to genetic causes, gender, age and other factors.  Finally, there is evidence that reports of MSDs may be linked to certain psychosocial factors such as job dissatisfaction, monotonous work and limited job control. 

Many changes can be made without significantly increasing costs and many ergonomic changes result in increased efficiency by reducing the time needed to perform a task.  Many companies have already instituted programs that reduce MSDs, reduce workers' compensation costs and improve efficiency.

 

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