Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace

February 8, 2024

Occupational Health & Safety

The body is made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints, discs, and nerves known as the musculoskeletal system.  Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries in this system due to a variety of factors. Prevention of these disorders can be achieved by creating a safe work environment, identifying MSD hazards, providing education on ergonomic principles and the training and use of appropriate equipment.

MSD hazards that contribute to these disorders include:

  • Lifting/lowering and pushing/pulling of heavy loads
  • Reaching and bending in awkward postures
  • Repetitive movements with minimal rest or recovery
  • Holding the same position for prolonged periods of time

A combination of the above can greatly increase the risk for injury and is called a synergistic effect.

What are some common MSD’s?  

Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and thoracic outlet syndrome are some common musculoskeletal disorders that result from overuse or work activities that are frequent and repetitive or in an awkward posture. As almost all work requires the use of the upper body, most of these injuries are found in the hands, wrists, elbows, neck and shoulders, however it is possible to have back and leg related injuries. Using appropriate ergonomic techniques may help prevent these injuries from occurring.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of matching the job requirements and environment to the worker to maximize efficiency and quality of work while reducing work related musculoskeletal disorders, fatigue, and discomfort. An ergonomic assessment can be arranged by visiting the Ergonomics page on the WCH intranet here Ergonomic assessment. The link to the online booking page is available for both work from home and on-site workers. For more information or additional appointment times, please contact

What is the benefit of a desk based ergonomic assessment?

An assessment is completed of the chair, desk and computer set up with recommendations provided for workstation adjustments.  Ergonomic tools may also be recommended if appropriate.  The expectation is that with a more ergonomically correct desk configuration, common MSD injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis/tenosynovitis will be improved or prevented.

Please contact Heather Robinson, Injury Prevention Specialist at if you have any ergonomic questions or concerns or book an assessment today Ergonomic assessment