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Preventing muscle and nerve injuries in the workplace

Although workers from New Jersey may have to contend with many possible forms of workplace injury, musculoskeletal disorders can be some of the most long-lasting and difficult to manage. This range of disorders can have a wide ranging impact not the body, especially in the back, neck and extremities. MSDs are most often caused by lifting heavy objects, uncomfortable posture while working long periods of time or reaching beyond what is comfortable.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders most frequently occur in the transportation, warehousing, retail, construction and health care industries. In addition, these forms of injury constituted around 33 percent of all workplace injuries that occurred in 2011. Some employers may be able to lessen the risk of MSD by instituting more ergonomic practices in the workplace.

In order to create a more ergonomic environment for employees, it is usually necessary to identify problem areas and encourage employees to report symptoms of MSD related workplace injuries before they can progress. In addition, management and workers alike can be trained to be made aware of the benefits of an ergonomic workplace, understand how damaging MSDs can be and initiate safe practices for their prevention. Once changes have been made, it is generally advisable to periodically review any progress that is being made and reevaluate specific areas in need of greater attention.

It is generally the responsibility the employer to provide a safe working environment for employees. However, if an injured worker is covered by workers' compensation, the negligence of the employer is not a prerequisite for the receipt of benefits. An attorney who has experience in this practice area can guide a client through the claims process.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor , "Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace", October 24, 2014

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