MSK Industry Guide
How the Manufacturing Industry is Tackling High Musculoskeletal Spend
MSK in the Manufacturing Industry
Workers in the manufacturing industry are especially prone to
musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries from performing repetitive motions.
Unlike a slip or fall, these types of injuries develop slowly over time
and lead to reduced productivity, work absences, and workers’
Meanwhile, with plants closing and tasks increasingly becoming automated, job security is a growing concern in the industry. These worries have a negative impact on their mental health which can further exacerbate manufacturing workers’ MSK pain. To combat their concerns, manufacturing workers are often self-medicating, which has a negative effect on their job performance. 1
- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019).
The toll of MSK on the workforce
Job security concerns and higher industry standards demand that manufacturing employees rise to the challenge. This inherently physical work causes higher rates of injury. The following job movements put your employees at an increased risk for musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders:
- Prolonged time standing - Repetitive physical tasks - Heavy lifting - Awkward postures or reaches - Limited rest time between activities
In manufacturing, many of these movements are integral to job performance. So, limiting these movements can prove challenging for most employers in the industry. And while certain precautions like education and customized tools can help minimize the impact of these activities, they can only do so much.
Meet Paul, a 42 year old Michigan native who has been working at an automotive manufacturing plant for the past 20 years. Years of heavy lifting and awkward postures from mechanical assembly have left him with low back pain that regularly keeps him up at night. Paul takes an aspirin before every shift for his pain and drinks a couple of beers after he clocks out to help him sleep.
Repetitive motion takes a toll on your workforce and causes back and joint injuries. These injuries lead to chronic pain and ultimately to expensive back and joint surgeries, which cause employer musculoskeletal (MSK) spend to balloon.
Employer MSK spend is so high because 4 out of 5 employees with chronic pain are not receiving expert-recommended non-surgical preventative care. Instead of preventative care, our medical system overuses surgery and drugs.