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Ergonomic solutions for preventing workplace injury

Musculoskeletal injury made up a full 34 percent of all workplace illness and injury in Pennsylvania and around the country over the course of 2012, as recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lower back, shoulder and upper-limb sprains and straining were among the most common such injuries and were suffered in the highest numbers among manual laborers as well as professional movers in the material, stock and freight industries.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released a safety publication entitled "Ergonomic Solutions for Retailers." The 23-page document contains suggestions for workplace safety policies and equipment that can ease the lifting and transport of heavy objects. It outlines a four-step process by which retailers can reduce the chances of musculoskeletal injury: assessing the situation, determining which jobs should take priority for safety improvement, implementation of said improvements and finally evaluation of the improvements' effectiveness.

According to one source, the director of NIOSH believes that the publication is an "invaluable tool" for the retail and wholesale industries. He says that the strategies and technologies discussed in the publication can help increase productivity by decreasing the incidence of injury and thus decrease the time that injured workers must take off from work in order to recover.

A worker who has been injured on the job may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits reimbursing them for medical expenses and lost wages. An attorney may be able to help such a worker obtain the greatest possible amount.

Source: EHS Today, "Working in the ‘Power Zone’ (and Other Safe Material Handling Tips for Retailers)", Josh Cable, December 12, 2014

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