ANN ARBOR, MIMusculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are very common on assembly lines, due to repetitive tasks. Humantech Inc., an ergonomics consulting firm, has published a new e-book that explains how manufacturers can address the issue.

“Five Common Approaches to Managing Musculoskeletal Disorders: What Really Works” examines various solutions, including the pros and cons of each.

MSDs are soft tissue injuries resulting from repeated use of skeletal joints over time. Controlling and reducing them is a priority for most occupational safety professionals and engineers, because they account for up to 75 percent of recordable injuries in the workplace.

The first two approaches that Humantech ergonomists recommend are:

  • Fix the person. Injury management is a common and necessary approach to managing MSDs when responding to symptoms of the disorder by diagnosing and treating them when they occur. Employers are obligated to handle these scenarios and assist an employee’s return to work.
  • Fit the person to the task. Job matching occurs when employers try to match the capabilities of an employee to the physical demands of the workplace. This approach relies on measuring a person’s functional capabilities, such as strength, reach, range of motion and maximal oxygen consumption, and then matching the “right” person to the job that meets those requirements.

To learn about the other three approaches and get advice on the best strategy to use, click to download the MSD e-book.