We know that musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk factors like forceful exertions, awkward postures, and repetition can result in pain, discomfort, illness and injury. We also know that related injuries can result in significant direct and indirect costs to companies. And we know that such injuries can cause a lifetime of pain for those afflicted. But what about exposure to levels of MSD risk factors that do not present a high likelihood of an actual recordable, costly injury?
From a productivity and quality standpoint, the same risk factors that may result in injury are very likely to interfere with a worker’s performance. When there are barriers to worker performance, there will be losses in time (productivity) and in accuracy (quality, errors, waste). For example, when a part is positioned so that it requires a worker to assume an awkward posture, that posture and the motions necessary to achieve it take time
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2002-06-01.