Musculoskeletal disorder in the workplace is an injury in the arms, legs, head, neck, or back caused by aggravated movements like heaving lifting, aggressive pulling and/or pushing, or similar activities.

The National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety, or NIOSH, has recently released a Fact Sheet on preventing Musculoskeletal disorders for the health care industry.

Most of the prevention listed, however, can be applied to many other industries to ensure workers’ safety and health wellness.

For the employers, NIOSH suggests that they:

  • Develop policies to ensure all care plans determine whether ergonomic assistive devices are needed.
  • Provide ergonomic assistive devices (such as slide boards or gait belts) when needed.
  • Provide training on assistive ergonomic devices, their uses, the clinical situation requiring them, and how to order them in the plan of care.
  • Develop policies to assess the caregiver’s competence with the assistive devices once he or she has been trained and is using them.

On the other hand, suggestions for employees are to:

  • Participate in ergonomic training.
  • Use ergonomic assistive devices if available. Products such as slip sheets, slide boards, rollers, slings, belts, and mechanical or electronic hoists (to lift the client) have been designed to help health care workers and clients.
  • Equipment such as adjustable beds, raised toilet seats, shower chairs, and grab bars are also helpful for reducing risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries. These types of equipment can allow the client to help during transfer.

Lists of other preventative ways on this is listed here.

To learn more on Industrial Ergonomics Awareness or to schedule a class, visit