Mining Program Area: MSD Prevention
The purpose of the musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention program area is to reduce the incidence and severity of work-related MSDs in the mining population. This is done through the application of ergonomics to improve work place design and work practices. Surveillance research is used to determine where potential health and safety risks lie. MSDs always account for a large percentage of injuries, with significant sprains and strains reported in the mining industry due to the labor-intensive nature of the work.
When reducing work-related injuries, it is essential to understand the exposures associated with work tasks. MSD prevention research focuses on risk identification, exposure assessment, and the development of mitigation strategies. The primary research questions include: What hazards are present in the workplace? How do these hazards affect the worker? Can these hazards be removed? Are there methods or design alternatives for reducing these hazards? How effective was the strategy at reducing the hazard?
Our approach is unique because we target specific mining-related tasks. Although injury patterns in mining are similar to other industries, mining has a unique set of risks and regulations that require more tailored methodologies. Through consistent contact with the mining industry, OMSHR is able to reach its target audience more effectively.
The MSD prevention program’s contracts have generally been small and are intended to assist OMSHR researchers. Through its contract work, OMSHR is working to develop a prototype kneepad and computerized ergonomics audits.