EHSDA: What Workplaces Can Do to Prevent MSDs

In this installment of EHSDA Shorts, Matthew Marino, Owner, Evolving Innovation, and Dr. Ram Maikala, PhD, ASP, FHFES, Program Technical Consultant, National Safety Council, discuss what workplaces can do to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The webinar was moderated by Jay Kumar, Editor-in-Chief of EHS Daily Advisor.

This clip was taken from a webinar titled “Panel Discussion: Using Technology to Prevent and Address Musculoskeletal Disorders” as part of EHS Technology Week 2024. The full session is available for FREE on-demand here.

This webinar was sponsored by Appruv, KPA, MSA, and SafetyIQ.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

Question: What can workplaces do to prevent MSDs?

Marino: For that you really need to understand where are your risky areas, where are the places where people are going to work and getting broken, for lack of a better term, and that’s going to require an ergonomic assessment, a risk assessment, and ultimately some type of solution to be implemented. There are many that you could think of and it really depends on the issue. Ram mentioned the hierarchy of controls. This is how the vast majority of safety and ergonomics professionals are operating and should be operating if you can completely eliminate the hazard or the risk that’s the best way to control the issue. Sometimes automation or substitution or engineering controls are either impossible, too difficult, too costly.
Where they’re going to take too much time to put in place, then then you kind of have to work your way down the hierarchy and think, “All right, what can I do as a as a bridge, what can I do now in the meantime until those higher order controls can be implemented?”
Kumar: Ram, any thoughts on preventive measures?
Maikala: Going back to what Matt was mentioning about the sleep, diet, exercise, all these things do matter apart from that. Even if you look at, again, going back to policies and procedures for the wellness programs and health programs, those are important as well apart from having this hierarchy of controls in place and making sure both employees and employers are accountable for these. So that’s why I look at it because if you want to have a successful program or successful preventive measures, it should be holistic.