Prevention Techniques for Musculoskeletal Disorders


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Executive Summary 

Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is a work related health condition that affects the tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and the ligaments. The paper proposes research that will come up with appropriate techniques to prevent musculoskeletal disorder in textile industry. The researcher intends to employ mixed method research design during the study. Focus group interview and questionnaires will be the main data collection techniques that will be used. The researcher hopes to get the sample population from two textile industries and assess 120 workers who have been in the company for more than seven months. The obtained data will be analyzed using content analysis technique and Excel spreadsheets. The results will be presented in tabular and graphical form and conclusions made. 

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) comprise of a wide range of physical health problems among them being the muscles, the tendons, the ligaments, blood vessels and joints (Raithatha & Mishra, 2016). It is a disorder that is associated with occupation and occurs once the workers have been exposed to a particular hazard. Some of the risk MSDs risk factors include forceful exertions, awkward postures and repetitive motions of the hand and wrists. There are other risk factors however that are associated with the disorder such as the exposure to more than one risk factor which appears to increase the extent to which an individual can suffer from the disorder. The pathology of MSD is very broad and has been associated with acute, sub -acute and chronic conditions (Barbe & Barr, 2006). Repetitive injuries are the most common causes. In addition, places with poor working conditions can contribute significantly to musculoskeletal disease due to acute traumatic injury. Pain and inflammation are among the most common symptoms that have been reported over the years. MSD is a class of disease that affects everyone all over the world. All ages, sexes, socioeconomic classes and also ethnicities can be affected. 

The disorder is common in the industrialized nations due to the demographic and environmental risk factors. Since it is the single largest group of work-related illness, some conditions and the parts of the body are associated with certain warehouse work, repetitive lifting of heavy load and the prolonged productivity, diminished quality of life and absenteeism (Kim, 2015). Workplace factors can increase the risk of injury and the also the disorder. DSM is also common among the workers who work with quick and repeated series of movements.

According to Berberoglu & Tokuc (2013), MSD accounts for about 34% of work-related injuries and sickness in industries. Their study indicated that for every $3 spent to compensate an employee, $1 is accounted for the MSD. Annually, companies compensate workers about $20 billion for musculoskeletal disorders. To minimize such costs in the textile industry, this paper proposes a study on the prevention mechanism that can be used to minimize the MDS.

1.1 Aim

To determine the appropriate techniques that can help in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) in textile industry 

1.2 Objectives 

i. To identify the main cause of musculoskeletal disorder in the textile industry.

ii. To determine the preventive measures that can be established to curb the disorder.

iii. To identify ways to safeguard the lives of the employees so that the disorder can be monitored and regulated.

1.3 Research Question

What are the techniques that can be used to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in textile industries?

1.4 Hypothesis

Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) can be prevented at workplaces in textile industry by designing appropriate working instruments, tools and providing conducive working conditions 

1.5 Rationale 

This proposal is ergonomics-oriented. As such, the scientifically studying of people in employment is a major role of an engineer in order to determine the appropriate ways of designing working tools, space, equipment, lighting, displays and controls that will minimize cases of disorders and injuries that are associated with poor working posture, overuse of muscles and repeated tasks. Assessing the MSD in the textile industry is crucial because it will help an engineer to determine the best ways to prevent the disorder and unlock the employees’ limitations and capabilities.   

Chapter Two: Literature Review 

2.1 Introduction 

This chapter will focus on discussing in detail the MSD disorder and identifying appropriate preventive techniques that will be incorporated so that the disorder will be eliminated. This chapter will discuss the scholarly materials and research made by other authors on the same topic presenting appropriate evidence.

2.2 Musculoskeletal Disorder

MDS is the most common related work health problem that has been identified I most industries. These problem has persisted for a long time and due to its adverse effects, measures and strategies have been developed to prevent the disease (Anon, 2016). Identifying the preventive measures for the MSD disorder will be a great step for the health of the workers in the textile industries will be improved and therefore increase in production (Dudley & Delong, 2001). The strategy of the measure is to evaluate the effectiveness of the method, to rehabilitate, retrain and reintegrate the workers about MSD.

2.3 Symptoms of a Musculoskeletal Disorders

Pain, discomfort and the loss of functioning in the back and also some extremities are the most common symptoms among people working in the textile industries (Ngan et al., 2010). Work-related MSDs is the impairment of the structure of the body like the muscles, the tendon and the joints among others that are aggravated primarily by the performance of work and also by the effects of the immediate environment where work is carried out like the textile industries (Hernandez & Peterson, 2012). Most work-related MSDs cumulate as a result of the repeated exposure to very high or even very low-intensity loads over a long period of time. MSDs can also be caused by acute fractures which occur accidentally (Macdonald & Oakman, 2016). The symptoms of this disorder can be vary from discomfort to pain and also to reduced body function and invalidity.

The disorder causes a lot of harm and suffering to the workers and also to the industries; there is low production owing to invalidity and treatment costs (Melhorn, 2014). The disorder also has a great impact on the society too and therefore should be prevented. If preventive measures are not considered in the textile industry, there will be capacity and disturbance of production. The cost also increases due to treatment and rehabilitation. The disorder is therefore a menace which causes a drag on both the society and the industry.

MSD has been identified to associate with the physical demand working conditions that cause the joints, the back and the neck to bend for long periods (Podniece, Heuvel & Blatter, 2016). The situation is very common in the textile industries where a lot of work is required and so to speak manual work (Riihimaki, 2014). People in those industries has to move a lot of heavy loads at all the times which include manual material and they have to keep on carrying out the repetitive movements and constrained posture as well as vibration and working in very low working conditions.

The study has indicated that a number of factories have been identified to having the highest probability to MSDs. Some risk factors have been noticed by different epidemiological studies identifying them as individual risk factors and external risk factors. Individual risk factors are the inherent in work tasks that increase one risk for the onset of musculoskeletal injuries. Examples can include fixed and constrained movement for a long period of time, forceful hand movements among others. External risk factors on the other hand external risks factors involve the inherent physical characteristic that predisposes one to risk. For instance age, gender, weight and overall gender (Society of General Internal Medicine, 2011). All these factors relate to one another and they interact together to make individuals vulnerable to the disorder. The assessment of the risks can be able to be used as a platform or a framework in which precautions is developed and preventive measures given. Risks can be controlled so as to come up with preventive measures of MSDs.

2.4 Control of Risk

Reducing the occurrence of the risk is one step towards the reduction of the MSDs even without putting up a complicated process (Staal et al., 2013). With regard to the epidemiology studies, scholars have identified the fact that it is possible for an individual to estimate how much each factor contributes to the origin of the MSDs. The fraction of the risk factor which is a proportion of a disease that is caused by the risks. It describes the size of the proportional reduction in the occurrence of the disease when the risk factor is eliminated (Unge et al., 2007). The variation of the fraction becomes the difference in the population and the factors in individual studies. When the risk of low back pain is considered, the manual handling includes frequent bending and twisting, heavy load, static posture and repetitive movements. In the management of the mentioned risk, a study has indicated that when the risks are omitted, they reduce the occurrence of the most common work-related disorder up to three-thirds or three-quarters. In matters concerning the work case, the reduction should certainly be about 10-20 %.

Reduction of the risk factors should act as the first step in reducing the MSDs disorder. Although the study has been carried out on how the reduction of the risk ca be useful, experience has indicated that not all the theoretical benefits can be useful (World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, 2016). It is therefore important to evaluate the actions in order to find out if the effects are what were expected. Evaluation can be made on the environmental changes and also carrying out an evaluation of the MSDs symptoms without having to do a formal intervention.   

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