Workplace injuries: What are MSDs?


Every day, thousands of workers in California suffer the consequences of musculosketal disorders, or MSDs. These types of workplace injuries can cause aggravated, strained or sprained tendons, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and discs. If left untreated, these injuries can cause long-term health problems.

Ergonomic and individual risk factors contribute to MSDs. Ergonomic MSDs are caused by tasks that require the worker to repeat the same motions for hours on end. Safety authorities say repetitive work cycles that exceed 30 seconds without breaks are considered to be highly repetitive. If those tasks require force, chances of developing MSDs are even higher, especially if the job requires the worker to maintain an awkward body posture while working, which can strain and overload joints.

Individual factors refer to each worker’s work practices, health habits and fitness level. If these factors are reduced, a combination of them over an extended period can lead to MSDs. Fatigue and recovery must be balanced to avoid musculoskeletal damage. Employers must allow workers the time to recover from musculoskeletal fatigue or risk MSDs that ultimately cause chronic pain, and it could even prevent an affected worker from continuing his or her job.

Fortunately, the California workers’ compensation insurance system covers a wide range of workplace injuries. Because MSDs are not as evident as fractured bones and lacerations, proving it to be work-related could be challenging. Also, these injuries cause progressive damage, and without a specific date on which the injury occurred, justifying a claim might be further complicated. For that reason, many MSD victims utilize the skills of an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the benefits claims process for them.

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