1.2 Musculoskeletal Disorders
Moderate static work might produce localized fatigue in the muscle involved and could lead to intolerable pain. As for excessive effort or work (could be static or dynamic) repeated over a period of time could lead to light pain initially and then to intense aches and pains. It is not only involving muscle but could affect joints, tendon, ligament and other tissues. Thus, long lasting and often repeated efforts can lead to damage of joints, ligaments and tendons. These impairments are usually categorized under the term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs develop over time; the process evolves gradually with the repeated overuse and lack of recovery. Sudden appearances of injury such as torn ligament or a sprain is not musculoskeletal disorders associated with repetitive work and clearly work related accident.
Other terms generally used apart from MSDs; cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive stress disorders, repetitive stress injury (RSI), overuse injuries and repetitive motion disorder (RMD).
Example of work related musculoskeletal disorders are epicondylitis, tendinitis, tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis thoracic outlet syndrome, prolapsed intervebra disc (PID) and etc.
When a WMSD develops a worker experiences the following:
• Localised fatigue and discomfort (early indicator)
• Swelling, as tissues become irritated
• Stiffness and loss of range of motion of
• Inability to work and function at home
MSD Risk factors
The factors that contribute to the risk of MSDs are called risk factors. A risk factor is something that may cause or contribute to an injury. Two or more risk factors can be present at one time, increasing the risk of injury.
The physical risk factors for MSDs are the physical demands of a task, including:
• Local contact stress
The seriousness of the problem is determined by three main characteristics;
The phenomenon of MSDs should be treated with great attention because of the consequences involved. Listed below the direct and indirect cost of MSDs:
• Direct cost – medical expenses, compensation for victim and etc
• Indirect cost – loss of production, loss of work man days, replacement cost and etc
Besides that, other consequences of MSDs on the victims must be considered also. Such as physical and mental suffering, loss of quality of life, temporary and permanent limitation in work and daily routine activities, financial problem, relationship problems, difficulties in social life and many more. These consequences have been overlooked.
As for Malaysia scenario of MSDs, there has been increase of reported cases of MSDs. Figure below shows the distribution of total number of cases of MSDs reported to Social Security Organization (SOCSO) of Malaysia from year 1995 to 2012.
Figure 1.12: Distribution of total number of cases of MSD’s reported to SOCSO, 1995 - 2012