Regardless of the industry in which you earn a living in Illinois, you will be at risk of suffering musculoskeletal disorders if you do not take care of your body. From office and call center workers to those involved in construction, manufacturing, transportation and logging, all risk overexertion. MSDs affect muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels, joints, spinal discs and cartilage.
Your employer can prevent musculoskeletal disorders by addressing ergonomics in the workplace. This involves fitting each job to the employee who will do it.
Causes of musculoskeletal disorders
MSDs are disorders that could develop over time. If your job involves any of the following, you will risk overexertion:
- Repetitive motions: This results from repeatedly using the same muscles. It could follow long hours of typing on a keyboard, manipulating a computer mouse, working on an assembly line, or any other repetitive motions.
- Lifting objects: Excessive lifting, pushing, carrying, lowering, pulling, stretching or reaching are typical causes of MSDs.
- Standing or sitting: If your job requires you to stand for prolonged periods, blood can pool in your legs and feet. If you sit for extended periods, it could also affect blood circulation, and continuous pressure at specific points can cause additional harm
- Awkward positions: If your job requires your posture to deviate significantly from the normal position, your muscles will need more force to work efficiently.
- Vibration: Working with power tools that produce continuous vibrations can damage fine blood vessels and nerves in your arms and hands.
- Sharp edges: Resting your wrists on the sharp edge of a desk or keyboard for hours on end can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, the pressure of the frame of the chair at the back of your legs can jeopardize blood circulation.
Regardless of whether you work on an assembly line, on a computer or in a factory, you could develop ergonomic injuries.
You should report any signs of overexertion to your employer as soon as symptoms become evident. These could include pain, numbness, swelling, tenderness, tingling, loss of strength or clicking joints. If you leave it untreated, it could lead to long-term discomfort, posture problems, chronic pain, tendonitis and even disability.
Does workers' compensation cover MSDs?
Although the Illinois workers' compensation insurance program covers all work-related injuries, proving that musculoskeletal disorders are work-related could be a challenge. This is because it is typically impossible to pinpoint a date on which the injury happened. Fortunately, help is available. An attorney experienced in helping injured workers in Illinois to obtain maximum benefits under applicable law can provide valuable support and guidance every step along the way.