Musculoskeletal conditions are among the most disabling and costly afflictions suffered by Americans. In 2014, MSDs accounted for 33% of all injury and illness cases in the United States. Worldwide, musculoskeletal conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and the most costly of all disease categories, accounting for one-fourth of the total global cost of illness. There are a number of factors influencing the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders and the need for a new, more advanced system to measure their impact. The most significant of these factors is workplace conditions. MSDs are the leading cause of workplace injuries. The costs to American industry associated with lost work days is staggering. Twenty-eight million persons with a musculoskeletal condition, OR
1 in 8 people
in the prime working ages between 18 and 64, reported lost work days in the previous 12 months, totaling more than 216 million days; this was more than six times the next most prevalent cause of lost time.
Work-related MSDs (“WMSDs”) do not necessarily happen as a result of a single accident or injury; rather, they normally develop gradually as a result of repeated trauma or micro-trauma. Work activities which are frequent and repetitive, activities with awkward postures and the type of physical work done to complete a job may cause persistent pain and lead to deterioration of the affected joints, tissues, and muscles. These job-related to stresses are referred to as “workplace risk factors,” and the scientific literature demonstrates that exposure to these risk factors significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing a work-related musculoskeletal disorder.
Jobs involving exposure to workplace risk factors appear in all types of industries and in all sizes of facilities. None of these factors normally act separately to cause WMSDs. These injuries commonly occur as a result of a combination and interaction among them.
Once they reach an advanced stage, MSDs do not ameliorate without an effective medical intervention, often meaning surgery or prolonged rehabilitation. Accordingly, the ideal time to identify and treat MSD conditions is early in their development cycles.