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National Safety Month Week 1: Focus on Musculoskeletal Disorders

Toby Graham /

June is National Safety Month, and we are celebrating alongside the National Safety Council and thousands of organizations. This first week we are focusing on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

According the NSC, “musculoskeletal disorders are the most common causes of disability, early retirement and limitations to gainful employment. They cost employers billions each year in lost productivity, worker compensation, absenteeism and presenteeism, turnover and ability to attract new talent. Injuries caused by overexertion cost $13.3 billion alone. The good news: MSD risk reduction is a smart investment. Every dollar spent on prevention generates twice the return or more.

NSC’s Injury Facts Dives in a bit further:

Source: NSC Injury Facts

Jumping into OSHA’s $afety Pays Calculator, I looked up the costs related to strain injuries.

Ready for some eye-popping numbers?

For an employee who suffers a strain, an employer…

  • can expect to see $32,023 in direct costs
    (which may or may not be paid by the employer, depending on the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy), and
  • can expect to pay $35,225 in indirect costs
    (always paid for by the employer),
  • for a total of $67,248.

That means the employer would need to at least generate

  • $1,174,176 in sales to cover indirect costs,
  • or $2,241,600 to cover everything.

More Interesting MSD Connections

MSDs have an interesting tie to psychological distress in the workplace. Things like inconsistent work schedules or heavy workloads can add to work-related stress – often contributing to or aggravating MSDs. And, when looking at the demographics of workers dealing with MSDs, they’re disproportionately found in low-wage workers and workers of color. Sadly, these two groups often have less access to health care and are more sensitive to the personal economic tolls of dealing with these injuries.

Resources for Reducing Musculoskeletal Disorders

Article: Construction Workers: Here’s How to Protect Your Back

Podcast: On the Safe Side podcast mini-episode: MSDs
Safety+Health magazine Associate Editors Barry Bottino, Kevin Druley and Alan Ferguson discuss MSDs with NSC experts Lisa Brooks and Ram Maikala.

KPA Training: Avoiding Sprains and Strains

NIOSH: Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders Resources

In case you missed it, here’s what we’re covering each week of National Safety Month:

Week 1: Musculoskeletal Disorders

Week 2: Workplace Impairment

Week 3: Injury Prevention

Week 4: Slips, Trips, and Falls

Stay safe out there!

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