Report: Repetitive Motion Injuries Are Still No. 1

By Nash, James L. | Occupational Hazards, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Report: Repetitive Motion Injuries Are Still No. 1


Nash, James L., Occupational Hazards


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 435,180--or 33 percent--of the workplace injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work in 2003. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the information March 30 in its report on the characteristics of lost-worktime injuries and illnesses (LWIIs) for the year.

Not only are repetitive motion injuries extremely common, they cause workers to stay away from work longer than injuries that appear to be far graver, such as falls or amputations.

For example, the survey uncovered the following patterns:

* Among major disabling injuries and illnesses, carpal tunnel syndrome caused the highest median days away from work (32 days), followed by fractures and amputations (30 days).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

* Among the most frequent events or exposures, repetitive motion, such as grasping tools, scanning groceries and typing, resulted in the longest absences from work--a median of 22 days.

* Falls to a lower level caused the next longest absences from work, with a median of 15 days. …

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