Musculoskeletal Disorders Decline in Manual Material Movers: Helpful Tools

posted on: Tuesday February 23, 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports fewer musculoskeletal disorders in MMH; here is something that contributed to the improvement.

In October of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its 2014 Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illness Summary. It was good news overall:

“Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 32 percent of all injury and illness cases in 2014 for all ownerships. The MSD incidence rate decreased to 33.8 cases per 10,000 full-time worker in 2014, down from 35.8 cases.”

As usual, nursing assistants, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers incurred the highest number of MSD cases. While the number of MSDs continues to decline, these workers in particular are exposed to risks that can have life-altering consequences.

When the BLS released its 2013 numbers, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health spoke of the three million private sector workers who had experienced a serious injury or illness on the job.

“… we cannot ignore those three million workers. The severity of their injuries and illnesses varies widely; some are amputees, some suffer back injuries, while others have to struggle for each breath. Work injuries can instantly pull the rug out from a family striving for a good middle-class life. This is why the work of the Labor Department is so vital, and why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with our partners in both the public and private sector, will maintain our commitment to ensuring that everyone can work in a safe, healthy place.”

This was in response to his acknowledgement that while three million is a high number, the overall injuries and illnesses continued to decline, even during a time of industry growth. He attributed this success to the “tireless work by those employers, unions, worker advocates and occupational safety and health professionals all coupled with the efforts of federal and state government organizations that make worker safety and health a high priority each and every day.”

Efforts made to reduce work-related MSDs include using cart and tugger systems instead of forklifts and/or manual pushing and pulling. Carts have evolved over the years to become quite sophisticated and convenient. The tuggers used to haul the loads are practical as well. With the help of equipment like this, man hours are reduced, productivity increased, and injuries from pushing/pulling are practically eliminated. To discuss how a battery-powered tug can reduce the instances of MSDs at your facility, call Load Mover, Inc. at 952-767-1720 or email