PCOC - Summer 2016 - 18
Sprains, Strains and
Auto-Hose Reels: Using
Ergonomics to Reduce Injuries
By Paul Lindsay,
Principal and Senior Vice President,
EPIC Jenkins, for the PCOC Insurance Program
It will come as no surprise to you that the leading on the job employee injuries are sprains, strains, and
contusions. The causes? Repetitive motion (thus the hose reel reference), slips and falls - the falls most
often connected to ladders. Short of the occasional fumigator falling from a roof, these injuries cross all
three branches of pest control operations.
Many of these injuries fall under the diagnosis of Musculoskeletal
Disorders (MDS,) a condition that can deeply affect your work force.
It is important to address the issues surrounding MDS and the concrete
ways to minimize its impact.
Musculoskeletal Disorders account for nearly one-third of all injuries
that require days away from work. In 2014, U.S. employers lost 1.15 million
work days due to MSDs, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are often referred to as 'ergonomic injuries' and affect the connective tissues of the body such as
muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. Examples
include sprains and strains from lifting, hernias, and carpal tunnel
syndrome. MSDs are some of the most difficult and costly workrelated injuries to treat.
Consider the following facts:
* Musculoskeletal Disorders are among the most prevalent medical
problems in the U.S., affecting 7 percent of the population. Testimony,
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
* Musculoskeletal Disorders cost the United States approximately
$850 billion per year. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
* "[MSDs]... account for 14 percent of physician visits and 19 percent
of hospital stays." NIOSH
* "Sixty-two percent of persons with MSD report some degree of
limitation on activity compared with 14 percent in the population at
* Workers with MSD claims lost a median of 10 work days. Bureau of
* MSDs are chronic, painful, and affect workers' quality of life.
How can my company reduce the incidence and cost of MSDs?
Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job
demands to the capabilities of the working population. Ergonomics is
an approach or solution to deal with a number of problems - including
work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders.
If your company has never experienced an MSD injury, you may need
only a basic ergonomics program. This involves assigning someone to
www.pcoc.org / Summer 2016