WorkComp Advisory
newsletter archive case studies articles

Industry Corner

Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling
Manual material handling (MMH) work contributes to a large percentage of the musculoskeletal disorders reported annually in the United States. Musculoskeletal disorders can result in protracted pain, disability, medical treatment, and financial stress for those afflicted with them, and employers often find themselves paying the bill, either directly or through Workers' Compensation insurance. At the same time, they must cope with the loss of the full capacity of their workers.

This booklet is written for managers and supervisors in industries that involve the manual handling of containers. It offers suggestions to improve the handling of rectangular, square, and cylindrical containers, sacks, and bags.

OSHA issues guidance document on portland cement

Portland cement has been shown to account for at least 25% of all work-related skin problems. Portland cement – any building material with adhesive properties when mixed with water – damages the skin because of its caustic, abrasive and water absorbing qualities. It also contains the toxin hexavalent chromium.

The guidance document that is available at offers ways to prevent skin-related injuries in cement and cement-related industries.

OSHA issues voluntary guidelines for shipyard industry
More than five years in the making, “Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Shipyards” offers solutions that have been effective at shipyards across the country. Occupational injury rates for shipyards are significantly higher than private industry averages.

Office hazards
According to the National Safety Council, the real threat of injury in the office place is a lack of awareness among employees. Workers are complacent and are not aware of the hazards and potential injuries.

Some important facts:
• Nearly 75% of all strain or exertion mishaps occur when an employee is trying to move an object – many times without supervisor authorization.
• The most frequently cited OSHA violation is electrical hazards. Recent technological advances have added to the electrical demands that many older office buildings are not equipped to handle.
• Twice as many disabling fall injuries occur in office settings, compared with non-office settings. Although stairs seem like the likely source of falls, according to Council more occur from chairs.
• A recent study by the University of Arizona in Tempe for the Clorox Co. found 400 times more germs on a desktop than an average toilet seat. The telephone and the desktop where a worker rests his or her hands are the top contaminated spots.