Musculoskeletal overexertion injuries in the United States: mitigating the problem through ergonomics and engineering interventions.
Mital A; Pennathur A
J Occup Rehabil 1999 Jun; 9(2):115-149
Rehabilitating and accommodating injured workers when they return to work is a contemporary issue that is being addressed by rehabilitation experts in a variety of ways. Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are mandating that employers provide reasonable accommodation to returning workers, it is the need to control increasing workers' compensation costs that is forcing employers to rethink their injury management strategies. Historically, the preventive approach has been advocated by ergonomists in the belief that all injuries can be prevented. However, available injury data from different sources, such as the National Safety Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics presented in the initial sections of this paper, show that both the incidence and costs of occupational injuries in the United States continue to rise. It is clear, that no matter what preventive measures are taken, some injuries will happen. With this in mind, this paper examines the current injury management approach, and suggests an integrated injury management model incorporating the principles of ergonomics and engineering design, and the principles of disability management. Further, this paper highlights ergonomics interventions that industries should follow for injury management. The paper also provides guidelines and recommendations from ergonomics research for identification, quantification, and control of risk factors associated with musculoskeletal injuries of the back and the upper extremities.
Workers; Injuries; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Accident-rates; Models; Ergonomics; Engineering; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Risk-factors; Work-environment; Education; Training; Back-injuries; Extremities;
Author Keywords: injury management; rehabilitation of injured worker; ergonomic interventions; musculoskeletal injury risk factors
Anil Mital, Ergonomics and Engineering Controls Research Laboratory, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0116
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
University of Cincinnati