Work-related musculoskeletal disorders can render a worker disabled.
A high number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are being reported in the poultry processing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 7.5 percent of workers in the poultry processing industry have reported injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. These musculoskeletal disorders are caused by ergonomic stressors.
Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
WMSDs are a group of disorders involving the muscles, nerves, and tendons. These disorders develop due to repeated and stressful arm and hand movements such as gripping, twisting, holding, bending, clenching, straightening, and reaching. Though these particular movements are not harmful themselves, they can cause stress and pain leading to WMSD if there is a continuous, forceful repetition of the action. The condition worsens if the movements are fast and there is no time for recovery from the stress each movement causes. WMSDs are often related to occupations that require:
- constrained body positions
- continuous repetition of a particular movement
- concentrated force applied on small parts of the body
- continuous speed of a movement that does not allow time for recovery
WMSDs are mostly caused by a combination of two or more of the aforementioned factors. They can also be caused by continuous exposure to heat, cold, and vibrations. WMSDs develop gradually, due to overuse of the muscles, tendons, and nerves. Injuries or trauma caused to the musculoskeletal organs caused by accidents are not considered WMSDs. Examples of WMSDs include:
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- thoracic outlet syndrome
- tension neck syndrome
Reducing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
OSHA has established goals to reduce the occurrence of WMSD among poultry processing workers. A program has been initiated in poultry processing plants to assist employers in reducing WMSD by following federal norms and standards. In the first three months, the program aims at spreading knowledge about the health and safety measures that employers and employees should take. In the second stage, OSHA will start enforcing compliance to set regulations.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for WMSD
WMSDs often require long-term medical assistance and care. In some cases, the disorder can render a worker temporarily or permanently disabled. An injured worker should file a claim for workers’ compensation, but proving WMSD may be difficult. It is advisable to contact a St. Louis work comp lawyer for legal assistance. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.