In Quebec, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affect more than 45,000 workers in all sectors of activity each year . The human, social and financial consequences are enormous for both employers and workers. Physical and moral suffering, deterioration of quality of life, decrease of productivity, and decrease of quality of products and services offered are just some examples of the harmful consequences of MSDs.
What is a TMS?
MSDs are conditions that affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and sometimes nerves . The hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and back are the parts of the body most often affected. Depending on which part of the body is involved, it may be tendinitis, bursitis, epicondylitis, tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprain or disc herniation. In general, these troublesome disorders develop gradually for weeks, months or years. They can also happen suddenly. The symptoms of MSDs can vary greatly. The worker may feel pain , of course, but also discomfort , weakness, stiffness , tingling or numbness . Early intervention should occur when these symptoms occur. Otherwise, the problem may get worse and the worker may not recover fully. MSDs are growing all over the industrialized countries and, unfortunately, Quebec is no exception.
What can cause MSD?
Many factors are known to contribute to MSDs. These are, among others:
- fatiguing or uncomfortable postures;
- important muscular efforts;
- the repetition of the same gestures continues for hours;
- work in a cold place or exposed to vibrations;
- the use of hands as a hammer;
- pressure or friction on certain parts of the body.
It is a combination of these factors that creates a risk of MSDs.
Prevent MSDs, it’s possible!
The prevention of MSDs involves an approach that is in three words:
- identify work situations with MSD hazards
- correct these situations
- check the corrective measures applied.
Source: CSST – Occupational Health and Safety Commission – CSST