Hellman & Associates

Musculoskeletal Disorders Part 2

OSHA Standard: General Duty Clause 5(a)(1)

The following table outlines occupational risk factors and symptoms of the most common disorders of the upper body associated with WMSDs.

DisordersOccupational risk factorsSymptoms
Tendonitis/tenosynovitisRepetitive wrist motions
Repetitive shoulder motions
Sustained hyper extension of
Prolonged load on shoulders
Pain, weakness, swelling,
burning sensation or dull ache
over affected area
Epicondylitis (elbow tendonitis)Repeated or forceful rotation of
the forearm and bending of the
wrist at the same time
Same symptoms as tendonitis
Carpal tunnel syndromeRepetitive wrist motionsPain, numbness, tingling, burning
sensations, wasting of muscles at
base of thumb, dry palm
DeQuervain’s diseaseRepetitive hand twisting and
forceful gripping
Pain at the base of thumb
Thoracic outlet syndromeProlonged shoulder flexion
Extending arms above shoulder
Carrying loads on the shoulder
Pain, numbness, swelling of the
Tension neck syndromeProlonged restricted posturePain

The treatment of MSDs involves several approaches including the following:

  • Restriction of movement
  • Application of heat or cold
  • Exercise
  • Medication and surgery if allowed to persist over time

The main effort to protect yourself from WMSDs should focus on avoiding prolonged periods of repetitive patterns of work through task rotation. Early recognition of these disorders is very important to prevent injuries from becoming longstanding. Preventive and control measures, in order to be truly effective, require continuous involvement on the part of the workers and management in their work activities.