Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most common types of injuries sustained by manufacturing workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), they account for one-third of all work-related injuries and illnesses. So, if you work in the manufacturing industry, consider the following tips to protect yourself from MSDs.
#1) Lift Correctly
When lifting objects by hand, don’t bend your bend. Rather, lower yourself to the ground by bending your knees. This encourages natural spine alignment while lowering the risk of back-related MSDs. Whether it’s a light or heavy load, always lift by bending your knees and not your back.
#2) Use Material Handling Solutions
Of course, some loads may be too heavy for you to safely lift and carry, in which case a material handling solution should be used. A material handling solution is any machine or device that’s designed to lift and manipulate heavy loads. A forklift is a common example of a material handling solution, as it lifts loaded pallets and transports them to the appropriate area. There are also heavy lifting machines that use magnets to lift and manipulate heavy loads. If you can’t comfortably lift a heavy load, use a material handling solution to minimize your risk of bodily injury.
#3) Take Breaks
Be sure to take breaks during your shift. MSDs are often classified as repetitive strain injuries because they develop from performing the same task over and over. Therefore, taking breaks will lower your risk of developing MSDs. According to research cited by Inc.com, workers should take a short break every 90 minutes. A short break will allow your body to rest and recover so that you can return with 100 percent energy.
Stretching before, during and after your shift can lower your risk of developing MSDs. You don’t have spend an entire half-hour stretching. Rather, perform a quick five-minute stretching routine that involves interlocking your hands and lifting them into the air, twisting your torso from side to side, and touching your toes with your hands. This helps to loosen your muscles, allowing them to bend more freely and without sustaining injury.
#5) Don’t Overexert Yourself
Finally, don’t overexert yourself. If you experience pain in a particular area of your body, avoid any movements that worsen it. Some manufacturing workers simply “work through” the pan, only to sustain serious injury that hinders or prevents them from working. Listen to your body, and if you feel pain, avoid any activities or movements that worsen it.