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“Musculo-Skeletal Disorder” said the Safety Officer at the tool box meeting.


All eyes were affixed on him at the mention of such a complex word to some of the employees, but only Nonso was bold enough to speak out saying

“Oga Safety oh, abeg no vex, but you fit come down to our level?”


And the followed discussion was eschewed.


Safety Officer: “Musculo-skeletal disorders are injuries to our muscles due to improper positions used when carry out a particular work, eg lifting a weighty load”


Eniola: “Oh, ok, you mean like breaking a bone when we carry something that is too heavy for us, abi?”


Safety Officer: “not just breaking of bone, it could also be just pains in areas of the body used in carrying out the particular task. For instance, a typist who is always typing with wrists not resting in the proper position might have some pains in the wrists over a period of time, or someone lifting a load from the waist, instead of using the thighs to lift loads, or even a tall person always having to bend to pass through a door, lower than his height. Such conditions cause pains in different areas of the body being used for the particular task”.


Nonso: Okay oh Oga Safety, we done hear you, but how we go come avoid these muscular disorder when you talk so? Abi, nothing dey to prevent am?


Safety Officer: “Ha, Nonso, something must dey na, dat na why we dey discuss am.”


For lifting of loads, for instance, if you must lift, lift with your legs (thighs) by squatting and use a firm grip, and stand up with your back held straight, while the weight of the load rests on your thighs, and rise slowly.


If the load is too heavy, call for assistance from either your neighbour or use a lifting equiplment like trolley, or fork lift, etc.


Eniola: “But Mr Safety, in the case of someone that is tall and having to pass through doors lower than his/her height, what can be done?”


Safety Officer: “this has to with the design of the work space, we call it ergonomics in safety terms. But basically, every work space should be designed in such a way that it fits the needs of all staff. Ergonomics or design of work space also is what happens with the typist in my earlier example. Your work station must fit your work so as to avoid these injuries, and also, take regular breaks (1 minute breaks) from your works where possible to rest those muscles in the strenuous positions.”


All Staff: “Thank you oh, Oga Safety, we shall avoid musculo-skeletal disorders as you have advised and put all you have taught us into practice.”


Guest post by Okeoghene Iwhewhe who is a QHSE Professional.  Please provide your feedback to Oke.


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