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The 5 W's of Musculoskeletal Disorders

December 8, 2020

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Employees in every industry should be concerned about musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). While some professions pose greater risks (such as construction and other labor-intensive jobs), all workplaces contain risk factors.


Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries or disorders that target soft tissue and the nervous system. They are very painful and can hinder your ability to perform regular tasks at work and at home. There are six risk factors that contribute to developing an MSD:

  1. Repetitive Motion
  2. Vibration
  3. Awkward or Static Posture
  4. Localized Pressure
  5. Cold Temperatures
  6. Excessive Force


Musculoskeletal disorders can develop as quickly as a few days or as slowly as a few years. The ones that develop over days are caused by excessive exposure to one or more of the risk factors we listed above. The MSDs that take years to develop are formed during the small things you do every day without regard for proper ergonomics.


You should see a doctor if you think you are developing an MSD. Look out for the following common symptoms:

  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Aches
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Soreness


There are a number of reasons why you should be concerned about MSDs, but first, consider these statistics.

  • Work-related MSDs (WMSDs) are the most common cause of lost or restricted work time. (OSHA)
  • One-third of all worker injury and illness cases are related to MSDs. (BLS)
  • Seven in 10 construction workers report experiencing back pain.
  • Two million workers suffer from WMSDs every year.

MSDs are more prevalent than you would think, but that doesn’t mean that they are impossible to prevent. By implementing ergonomic practices in your daily work routine, you can control your exposure to MSD risk factors. Talk to your supervisor if you have any concerns about the ergonomics of your workspace.

We are excited to announce the release of our newest awareness training: Construction & Industrial Ergonomics. This training will include ergonomic practices for individuals working in construction and other general industries.

Come check it out!

Good luck and stay safe!

"Stop training the hard way. Do it the Hard Hat Training way instead!"
— Arthur Lee, CEO