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  • Companies Join Together to Reduce Workplace Injuries

    workplace injuriesMusculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries and disorders that affect the body’s movement or musculoskeletal system; they are also the most prevalent type of occupational injury that workers sustain. To create a safer work environment, the National Safety Council (NSC) is leading a global effort that it calls the “MSD Pledge”. So far, more than 100 leading organizations around the world have joined the venture, which aims to reduce the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders 25% by 2025.

    What Are Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define work-related musculoskeletal disorders as conditions in which the work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition and/or the condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions. Per the CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), here are some examples of workplace conditions that are notorious for causing these disorders:

    • Routine lifting of heavy objects
    • Daily exposure to whole body vibration
    • Work with the neck in chronic flexion position
    • Performing repetitive and/or forceful tasks
    • Routine overhead work with reaching
    • Pushing and pulling smaller loads
    • Repetitive bending
    • Working in awkward or strained positions

    Musculoskeletal disorders include three general types of injuries: muscle injuries, tendon injuries and nerve injuries. A few examples of musculoskeletal disorders that workers regularly experience include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, epicondylitis (or “tennis elbow”), trigger finger, muscle strains and low back injuries. According to OSHA, musculoskeletal disorders like these are the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time for injured workers.

    Even though the federal government requires every employer to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, hundreds of workers experience work-related musculoskeletal injuries each day. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) observed 272,780 cases of musculoskeletal disorders in the private sector in 2018, accounting for a whopping 30% of the total injuries that involved days away from work that same year. On average, the workers who sustained musculoskeletal disorders missed 12 days from work due to the severity of their injuries.

    The MSD Pledge

    The National Safety Council’s new MSD pledge promises to make a direct impact on the incidence rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. While its goal of reducing MSDs by 25% in the next three years is without doubt a lofty one, the coalition of nearly 100 leading employers from around the globe are hoping to achieve just that. The organizations who joined the NSC’s pledge employ a total of 2.6 million employees worldwide. They are committed to:

    • Study the causes of musculoskeletal disorders and invest in solutions and practices that reduce the risks that workers currently face
    • Focus on finding innovations and sharing discoveries that improve safety practices
    • Build a safety culture where every person, at every level, is accountable for the safety and health of workers
    • Work together to reduce MSD risk factors and related injuries throughout the pledge community by 25% by 2025

    The NSC is launching several other initiatives alongside its MSD pledge to address this problem as well, including an advisory council where experts in safety, ergonomics and health will collaborate on ways to amplify musculoskeletal disorder prevention efforts, hosting innovation challenges to showcase technological solutions that focus on risk prevention and eliminating work-related musculoskeletal disorders, a lab to support comprehensive research efforts for all industries and small business and university grants that will fund research and innovation and offer support to companies of all sizes.

    In the meantime, OSHA recommends that employers mitigate MSD risk factors for workers by employing ergonomics, or the practice of “fitting a job to a person”. Ergonomics involves arranging and designing a workplace (including its systems and products) to fit the people who use them by adapting tasks, tools, work stations, and equipment. The process of ergonomics also involves reducing the overall risks of injury and physical stress that workers encounter. OSHA reports that when employers implement ergonomics in the right way, work-related MSDs can be almost eliminated.

    Did You Sustain a Musculoskeletal Disorder at Work?

    Some typical signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders include:

    • Muscle twitching
    • A burning sensation in the muscles
    • Aching, pain or stiffness throughout the entire body
    • Numbness in and/or difficulty moving your finger(s)
    • Numbness in your thighs
    • Stiff joints
    • Back pain

    If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor right away. It is also crucial to report all workplace injuries or illnesses as soon as they occur to ensure that you and your employer are documenting everything properly.

    If you sustained a musculoskeletal injury at work, it is a good idea to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. Individuals who are victims of work-related musculoskeletal disorders sometimes need days, weeks or months off from work to recover, follow-up medical care, physical therapy, prescription medications and/or surgery. At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have been fighting on behalf of injured workers for decades. Here are some examples of our team’s recoveries:

    • Our client sustained a severe injury to his lower back while working. The injury required two surgeries, after which our client experienced significant pain and had difficulty walking and bending over. Despite the fact that our client’s employer acknowledged that his injury resulted from a workplace accident, it paid compensation at a far lower rate than our client was entitled to receive. Our firm was able to settle the matter for $194,500 to our client and the employer’s continued payment of all medical bills. To learn more about this recovery here.
    • Our client was a 64-year-old stacker whose job required constant and repetitive heavy lifting. Although he normally had help while performing his job, on the day of his injury he was working alone when he felt a sudden, sharp pain in his right shoulder that radiated to his neck. Later, our client was diagnosed with a herniated disc. Our attorneys successfully recovered $185,000 for our client and, even more importantly, were able to settle the matter prior to our client’s retirement. Had the matter settled after our client’s retirement, he would have been ineligible to receive benefits and would have received a reduced pension as well. You can learn more here.

    If you want to speak with someone about filing a workers’ compensation claim, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.

    Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)