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Ergonomic processes could help to keep Oklahoma workers healthy

The Bureau for Labor Statistics published study results in 2011 showing that musculoskeletal disorders were the subjects of 33 percent of cases involving employee injuries or illnesses. These types of disorders include such injuries to muscles, nerves and tendons as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis, and they are can occur across a diverse spectrum of careers when workers are overexerted. To help minimize or eliminate the occurrence of these conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages employers to apply ergonomic processes for their workers.

An ergonomic process is a management concept that combines methods of protecting employees and helping them to protect themselves from MSD-related issues. It can include maintaining open communication with employees through which they are encouraged to speak about their concerns related to their duties. Employees can inform management of possible shortcomings in workplace safety methods and report early symptoms of MSDs as they develop.

Another component of an effective process consists of training employees in principles of ergonomics. By educating workers, management can ensure that they are prepared to perform their duties in the safest manner possible while keeping a close watch on any areas that require attention.

Finally, management must be prepared to utilize the information gathered from workers to evaluate their overall progress. Steady, periodic assessment of areas in which a company's performance may either be excellent, adequate or in need of improvement is vital. At an early stage, these efforts should include measures to determine whether newly implemented individual strategies are paying off and could produce a worthwhile return in the long run. Careful observance of these concepts could greatly aid a company's efforts to maintain workplace safety.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor , "Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace", November 11, 2014

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