Health & Safety Bulletin – Musculoskeletal Disorder(MSD) – Sep 19

The hazardous manual tasks, movements and forces listed below have a considerable health effect that may lead to Musculoskeletal Disorder or MSD. This is one of the leading causes of morbidity and disability.

  • Repetitive movement.
  • Repetitive or sustained force.
  • High or sudden force.
  • Sustained or awkward postures.
  • Exposures to vibration.

MSD may include:

  • Sprains and strains of muscles, ligaments and tendons.
  • Back injuries including damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal discs, nerves, joints and bones.
  • Muscular and vascular disorders as a result of hand-arm vibration.
  • Joint and nerve injuries degeneration.
  • Chronic and acute pain.

MSD can occur:

  • Slowly through gradual wear and tear caused by repeated or continuous use of the same body parts, including static body positions.
  • Suddenly through strenuous activity or unexpected movements such as loads being handled, sudden movement or change in position.

Manual handling such as lifting, pushing and pulling may develop MSD over time.

MSD Prevention
The best and most effective way to eliminate or minimise the risk of a MSD is to consider the “manual task hazards” as a key element of risk assessment.

A risk assessment identifies the postures, movements and forces that pose a risk and identify up to what point they can become dangerous.

The use of the hierarchy of controls is a way to prevent the development of MSD.

Most effective control measureMethodExamples of hazard controls
EliminateRemove the hazard from the workplace or process so it is not used.
SubstitutionUse a less hazardous substance, material or system of work.
IsolationEnclose noisy or dangerous equipment.
Engineering ControlsMechanical handling devices, machine guarding.
Administrative ControlsTraining, safe work practices, safety signs.
Least effective control measurePersonal Protective EquipmentSafety glasses, ear plugs, safety boots.

For staff only:
Various safety training programs / videos are available for all employees in the Tasman Safety Training Hub

The videos present an awareness of the various symptoms of MSD’s and its prevention; especially for hand-power tools and hand guided equipment.