In every location where a person works, an employee faces the risks, which vary depending on the type of labor and other inevitable factors. Among other risks, there are occupationally related diseases that affect the workers and it is necessary to reduce or eliminate them as any other hazard. In the classification of the work-related musculoskeletal disorders, it summarizes pains affecting the muscles, nerves, and tendons of the human body system. These painful disorders cause uncomfortable conditions and may consequently affect the efficiency of a worker, hence overall performance. The most common disorders among others that relate to the workplaces are the Carpal tunnel and the tension neck syndromes. Therefore, every workplace policy is required to provide injury prevention strategies to reduce such incidences. In the health sector, overuse of the musculoskeletal system and its constituents lead to the related disorders. However, these traumatic damages may result from calamities upsetting the muscles, nerves, and tendons. Most work activities involve the use of hands and arms while the areas, which are commonly affected by the work-related musculoskeletal disorders, are the shoulders, neck, elbows, hands, and wrists. Musculoskeletal are common ailments in many individuals working in various sectors due to the nerves stresses within different body parts.
How it works
Movements around the arms and hands may not be risky in a normal and ordinary activity of the daily life. However, it is hazardous, when such activities are repetitive under considerable pressure causing lack of recovery time between the activities. Constrained positions of the body during longer periods, activities that cause the force to over-concentrate on small body parts are also other factors affecting the functionality of the musculoskeletal system as a whole. This implies that all these factors are intertwined (Cooper, 2012). Vibrations and temperature differences, heat or cold also play a role in the development of every constituent of the musculoskeletal system.
In the construction industry, some of the common musculoskeletal disorders result from strain and may also be referred to as cumulative trauma disorders. People working in this field are at danger of being affected by the carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis or bursitis. Considering the fact presented above, all these disorders originate from strain at the areas of the arms. Therefore, construction workers are highly exposed to the above-stated disorders due to their strenuous daily activities. Carpal tunnel syndrome results from intense pressure on the median nerve responsible for supplying feeling and movement to the entire hand. Construction workers are involved in lifting heavy loads. Thus, it affects the nerve and may cause tissues around such areas to swell consequently compressing the nerves, which is hazardous. Inflamed tendons due to extreme strain make the muscles weak compressing the median nerve in the wrist area. For such incidences, one may experience numbness or pains that are of a pin or needle-like sensations. In other cases, the skin may appear dry along with poor circulation of the blood.
Construction workers are often put under prolonged restricted postures during their work performance. They may either stand or sit for a long period, which according to health theorists, is risky to the musculoskeletal system. In addition, casing back pain may affect the neck area, which in the event, leads to the tension neck syndrome. One of the other factors affecting this area is the lack of recovery time after activities that involve shoulder flexion (Cooper, 2012). During their daily performance, these workers carry loads on their shoulders, therefore causing their arms to extend above their shoulder height. Consequently, they may begin to experience pain in their hands, which may sometimes lead to numbness and swelling of the hands. The symptoms characterize the thoracic outlet syndrome.
Repetitive twisting of the hand and use of force to enhance grip on the hand are also factors associated with disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Such activities cause the de Quervain’s disease, which is characterized by systems of pain at the thumb area. In addition, there is epicondylitis also referred to as elbow tendonitis being another risky disorder. Swelling effects of pain and weakness as well as burning sensations in the elbow area are the main characteristics of the given disease. The factors related to this type of disorder are continuous and frequent forceful rotation of forearms.
In compliance with the main health and safety fundamental principles, hazards are best eliminated while at the source. In the case of a construction industry among other workplaces, the prime cause of musculoskeletal diseases is repetitiveness of work and activities. Moreover, it is necessary to incorporate other factors mentioned in the discussion when designing patterns of the work. While preparing the corresponding work patterns, it is important to ensure that they include job rotation as well as its enlargement, mechanization, and enrichment (Leonard, 2008). However, one may not eliminate the receptiveness of the work but can ensure necessary control by checking the workplace layout, tool, workplace practices, and equipment design.
In the attempt to try and prevent the development of musculoskeletal disorders among the workers in different work places, it is vital to conduct specific evaluations. These are crucial in order to help in the identification of these risks by assessing a typical workday and processes involved. In such evaluations, it is important to consider the intensity, frequency, regularity, and durations for each task at the workplace in order to obtain the appropriate judgments. Evaluations are important in deciding on appropriate workplace designs and patterns in order to ensure that there are options to working positions and that work monotony is avoided.
Mechanization and provision of appropriateness in determining tool or equipment design types are important as it reduces the force required to complete the related task. Through the provision of tools and equipment, it is possible to save much muscular effort used in executing the same work, especially the activities implemented in awkward positions (Leonard, 2008). Engineering solutions to the reduction of musculoskeletal disorders in such an industry may include the use of suspended hand tools with intentions of decreasing static load, hand tools that engage the right handgrip, application of favorable work height that guarantees better postures for the upper body as well as hand arm. Personal protective equipment, such as gloves and aprons, are similarly important.
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Ensuring good work organization highly contributes to the elimination of musculoskeletal disorders that are work-related. The way in which jobs are structured is of great significance in issues of the musculoskeletal system. These jobs should be structured in a way that ensures frequent rest breaks, presence of the sufficient number of workers, good supervision, and planning.
The fact that musculoskeletal disorders are chronic and cumulative, they may be dangerous enough to cause severe damage to the nerves, muscles, ligaments tendons and even the spinal discs, which causes significant disease. In incidences of a worker suffering from any of the related disorder, it is necessary to conduct the tests condign order to determine the damage of nerve or muscle as well as the severity levels. Concerning the victims of any of the above-mentioned disorders, they could restrict their movement, engage themselves in exercises, apply heat or cold to the affected areas or opt for medication and surgery in case the situation is severe. In addition, it is vital to provide training for the employees as a preventative approach in the control of musculoskeletal disorders. Moreover, training increases workers understanding on how to exploit their workplaces into fitting their tasks and individual needs making it an equally important aspect.