From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Truck Drivers, Nursing Aids, Service Employees Have Highest Lost-Time Ergo-Related Injury Rates

Truck drivers and nursing aids, orderlies and attendants were singled out as the two categories of occupations mounting the most lost-time work-related injuries in 2002, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) survey on the subject.

The report, Lost-Worktime Injuries and Illnesses in 2002, released on March 25, 2004 by the BLS, found that the majority of the injuries suffered by truck driver and workers in the nursing-assisting category were sprains or strains and most often were caused by overexertion.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 34 percent of the injuries that resulted in lost work days in 2002. The industry reporting the greatest number of MSDs was the service industry, racking up 29 percent of the total work-related MSDs reported in 2002. The specific occupation with the highest number of MSDs, however, was the nursing aides, orderlies and attendants category.

According to the BLS, the longest absences from work resulted from injuries related to repetitive motions like grasping tools, scanning groceries or typing, with a median down-time of 23 days. In contrast, the second longest absences were associated with falls to lower levels, with a median of 14-days away from work resulting from these types of injuries.

Following the release of the statistics, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor John Henshaw noted that the agency will “continue to focus on occupations and workplaces where injuries and illnesses remain high, including construction, manufacturing and nursing. We are also making good progress in addressing musculoskeletal disorders, moving forward with Secretary Chao’s comprehensive approach on ergonomics.”

Part of OSHA’s “comprehensive approach” to ergonomics, particularly in regard to combating work-related MSDs, is the creation of voluntary ergonomics guidelines for various industries. Currently, though, only one set of ergonomics guidelines has been finalized