Work-related musculoskeletal disorders including back injury and upper extremity disorders are the most prevalent, most expensive and most preventable workplace injuries in the United States today. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for $1 of every $3 spent on Workers Compensation in America and affect 1.8 million workers each year which many experts believe represents significant under-reporting of the true incidence of ergonomic injury nationally. Compared to other private industry sectors, the medical, economic, and social costs of work-related musculoskeletal disorders or ergonomic injuries in the healthcare environment are particularly serious and warrant special consideration.
The most recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) summary statistics indicate that nursing aides, orderlies and attendants, along with two other occupations (truck drivers and nonconstruction laborers), account for one out of five musculoskeletal disorders reported nationally in 2001. The American Hospital Association has stated that work-related MSDs account for the largest proportion of Workers Compensation costs in hospitals and long-term nursing home facilities nationwide. In addition, the American Nurses Association reports that ergonomic injuries occur in nurses at a rate that is twice that found in the general working population.
The primary purpose of this website is to provide access to a wealth of free web-based educational tools and useful informational resources that are available to address the growing problem of ergonomic injury in healthcare services. The resources highlighted at this educational website are intended to offer BOTH healthcare employers and healthcare workers with important information to help guide them through the recognition, management and prevention of work-related ergonomic injuries. Any effective plan to reduce work-related ergonomic injuries in healthcare must include an emphasis on prevention strategies and access to educational resources that specifically target the escalating crisis of ergonomic injury in the healthcare environment.
This educational website was developed and produced with an award from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Susan Harwood Training Grant program. The comprehensive educational ergonomic injury prevention training modules developed for healthcare workers and healthcare facilities, accessible for free at this website, were also produced with Susan Harwood Training Grant funds.