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Boston work injuries often involve musculoskeletal disorders

Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys frequently report on accidents and injuries caused by work environments and that is true of musculoskeletal disorders.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has for the time being withdrawn its proposed work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSDs) column on employer injury and illness logs.

OSHA will be gathering more input from small businesses on this proposal with the assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

“Work-related musculoskeletal disorders remain the leading cause of workplace injury and illness in this country, and this proposal is an effort to assist employers and OSHA in better identifying problems in workplaces,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “However, it is clear that the proposal has raised concern among small businesses, so OSHA is facilitating an active dialogue between the agency and the small business community.”

In 2009 theBureau of Labor Statistics, reported that 28% of all workplace illnesses and injuries requiring time away was from work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Overall there were 348,740 cases of MSDs, at a rate of 33 cases per 10,000 full time workers. Backs had the greatest risk of injury. Occupations of nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had a back injury rate of 226 cases per 10,000 full time workers.

Under the proposed rule the existing requirements would not change regarding when employers must record work-related musculoskeletal disorders on their illness and injury logs. A large majority of small businesses aren’t required to keep track of work-related injuries and illnesses. Companies that are currently required to use the OSHA Form 300 log to document work related illnesses and injuries would now have to check a box in a new MSDs column.

The history of the MSDs column dates back prior to 2001, when the OSHA form had a column combined repetitive trauma disorders like noise and many kinds of musculoskeletal disorders. In 2001, OSHA gave noise its own column, MSD was also given a separate column but it was deleted in 2003. This new ruling would put the MSD column back on OSHA Form 300.

Jointly the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy and OSHA will meet with small businesses to discuss this proposal. OSHA also recently backed away from instituting tougher requirements for reducing employees exposure to noise in the workplace.

If you have been injured on the job or have a Boston workers’ compensation claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for assistance. Call for a free consultation at 1-877-617-5333.