MSD Hazard Controls

Regardless of the workplace, whether in an office or in a manufacturing facility, MSD hazards exist. These hazards may include awkward postures, static postures, repetition, and force, amongst others.

To reduce the risk of MSD hazards, both administrative and engineering controls can be implemented. Here are a few examples of each:

Engineering controls

Engineering controls are measures taken to physically modify a job or job task with the intent to reduce exposure to MSD hazards.

  1. Implement lifting devices for heavy manual material handling tasks
  2. Reduce the weight of an object to reduce force (e.g. change the product design)
  3. Implement different tools and equipment to minimize awkward and/or static postures
  4. Redesign a workstation to minimize the need for excessive reaching

Administrative controls

Administrative controls are management-directed work practices and policies designed to reduce or prevent expose to MSD risk factors.

  1. Develop standard operating procedures and providing appropriate training for them
  2. Lifting policies; e.g. heavy manual material handling tasks should be performed by two persons
  3. Provide employee training regarding best practices and work methods
  4. Provide training on MSD hazards and how to prevent them
  5. Provide employees with a stretching/warm-up program to prepare them for work to be done
  6. Establish appropriate policies for use and maintenance of tools and equipment
  7. Introduce job rotation

To reduce hazards, consider engineering controls before administrative controls to reduce injury risk. However, for maximum effectiveness at injury reduction potential both engineering and administrative controls should be considered. If you’re implementing a new tool (engineering control), an administrative control (e.g. training, policy) should go hand in hand to ensure the engineering control works as intended. Look at the big picture to address the root cause and ensure your solutions are a success.

OSHA Solutions to Control Hazards

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