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Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace

When New Yorkers think about workplace injuries, they may think about catastrophic accidents. They may think of something going horribly wrong and injuring a worker. However, this is not the only way that New York workers are injured. In some cases, workers are injured simply by correctly performing their job for long periods of time. These injuries are often known as musculoskeletal disorders. They can be caused by the repetitive or physically taxing nature of a workers' job.

Musculoskeletal disorders are some of the most common types of workplace injuries. These disorders include muscle strain, elbow and shoulder issues, tendinitis, trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome and low back injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, musculoskeletal disorders made up 33 percent of all workplace injuries in 2011. That year, these disorders accounted for more than 387,000 injuries. These injuries were most prevalent in healthcare, warehousing, beverage delivery, office work, food processing and construction jobs.

OSHA says the risk of musculoskeletal disorders can be reduced properly implementing ergonomics in the workplace. Ergonomics is the process of changing a job to fit the particular worker that is doing the job. In order to successfully implement ergonomics, employers should ensure that employees understand the risks and warning signs of musculoskeletal disorders. They should be encouraged to report musculoskeletal issues so that steps can be taken to reduce the risk of serious injury. Employers should also implement industry-specific measures to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders amongst employees.

New York workers should know that employers are responsible for reducing the risk of workplace injuries -- whether from an accident or from repetitive stress injuries. If a worker suffers an injury, an attorney can help to explain their legal rights.

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