The science of fitting the job to the worker is called Ergonomics.  When the physical capacity of the worker is mismatched with the physical requirements of the job, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can happen.  Ergonomics is the practice of designing tasks and equipment to fit the capabilities of the worker in order to prevent injuries before they occur.

Workers can be injured doing repetitive work, such as lifting for a full shift.   MSD’s can affect the back, legs, necks, wrists, shoulders, muscles and joints.  Think about our soldiers, how they are trained to withstand the weight of all that they must carry every day.  Supervisors of our military and emergency personnel, such as firefighters, must identify the risks of musculoskeletal problems  that could possibly be caused from wearing heavy gear for long periods of time.  

All work environments should have an ergonomics and training program  in order to prevent injuries.  Whether it is a workstation, warehouse, construction, or office ergonomics, the climate of the workplace should reflect the best way that employees are protected  from acute or chronic injuries. 

One example of preventing injury is to provide mechanisms such as conveyors, vacuum lifters, or other means to assist  those who must lift heavy objects. 

Healthcare workers face the risk of back injury while lifting patients, a regular part of their job.  This is the time when training in lifting methods is very important.  Some very small people can help manipulate nonambulatory patients with ease, because they know how lift, while at the same time keeping the patient safe.   

We can also suffer from musculoskeletal disorders while doing routine jobs at home.  Gardening, yard work, cleaning house, or sitting at a desk in the home office, can create problems the same as  at work.  We need to plan how we will work on a special project, or use stepladders rather than chairs when reaching for things.  Also, practicing good posture at all times is very important.  Maintaining the proper body weight for our height and age, eating healthy,  stretching before the start of work, and getting enough exercise are also  important factors in preventing injuries.

Whether you drive a truck, sit at a desk, work in construction, healthcare, military, or any other occupation,you have the right to be properly trained in order to perform your duties without the risk of pain and injury.


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