Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries

February 2020 Safety Topic

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are injuries of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints, cartilage, bones, or blood vessels in the arms, legs, head, neck, or back that is caused or aggravated by work tasks that include certain activities such as lifting and pushing, Musculoskeletal disorders account for nearly 70 million physician office visits in the United States annually.

Employees should follow the tips below to prevent musculoskeletal injuries while working:

  • Use arm and leg muscles for lifting, do not bend your back! 
  • Warm up before lifting and avoid over-straining.
  • Do not attempt to lift more than you can carry safely and without undue strain.
  • Call for help with heavy loads!

Specific Tips to Reduce the Risk of Injury While Lifting

  • Stand close to the load, with feet comfortably apart - about shoulder width.
  • For a load that is at floor level, squat down, bending at the hips and knees.
  • Grip the load securely.
  • Arch your lower back inwards, shoulders back and chest out.
  • To reduce strain on your back, carry the load close to your body, or on your shoulder.
  • Avoid sudden jerky movements; move smoothly. In placing the load down, arch your back inwards. See that your legs - not your back, take the weight.

For more information or questions about preventing musculoskeletal injuries, please speak with your supervisor or contact a member of the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.