Physical load

The risk of physical stress in the workplace in manual jobs refers to the possibility that workers:inside may suffer injuries or health problems due to repetitive or inappropriate movements, lifting heavy loads, repeated bending, prolonged standing or other physical exertion. Such risks can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, injuries to the back, joints or other parts of the body, which can affect job performance and cause long-term health problems.

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Physical stress: musculoskeletal disorder general explanation

During occupational activities, musculoskeletal complaints arise due to excessive physical strain, such as heavy lifting and carrying. The causes, prevention and costs of musculoskeletal disorders are shown here.

Diseases of the musculoskeletal system, the so-called support and movement system, belong to the group of musculoskeletal disorders. In the case of musculoskeletal disorders, all regions can be affected, such as ligaments, blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, bones, etc. This collective term also includes all types of health impairments, ranging from minor and temporary complaints to severe chronic, irreversible impairments.


Physical stress: causes and long-term damage of musculoskeletal disease

In the working world and in private life, there are many reasons for incapacity to work due to illness. An occupational musculoskeletal disorder occurs primarily due to physical stress at work. Lifting and carrying heavy loads is considered a typical process, resulting in incorrect strain on the musculoskeletal system.

Illnesses caused by degenerative disease of the back or osteoarthritis of the knee joint generally lead to a restriction of motor functions such as strength, coordination and mobility. With these limitations, physical stress at work, such as lifting and carrying loads, cannot be fulfilled or can only be fulfilled to a limited extent. The term "work-related musculoskeletal disorder" includes diseases and complaints of the musculoskeletal system or the musculoskeletal system that occur in connection with occupational activities and as a result of physical stress.


Musculoskeletal disease and physical stress: Physical stress - prevention options

There are many ways to prevent musculoskeletal disorders through physical stress. Advice and training are just as much a part of this as workplace-related measures.

Prevention options for musculoskeletal disorders:

- work-related musculoskeletal disorders (caused directly by work)- musculoskeletal disorders caused by work

- employees who - regardless of the cause - perform their work with a musculoskeletal disorder

Primary, secondary and tertiary preventive approaches are offered in addition to behavioral and relational preventive concepts, which can be used in the context of work-related health management.


Physical stress: prevention of musculoskeletal disease

Health-conscious design of the work situation - ergonomics, conduct a comprehensive risk analysis to identify and evaluate the stress (physical load) on the musculoskeletal system, including the derivation of workplace, company and employment-related measures.

Targeted consultations, education, instruction and training of employees in work conditions under which musculoskeletal stresses and eventually musculoskeletal disease may occur.

Personal care of employees with a focus on the musculoskeletal system as well as for the early detection of individual risk factors such as unhealthy nutrition and sporting activity, for example in the context of occupational health care; application of (occupational) reintegration measures.

  • Tailored individual health promotion offerings, such as exercise programs (including health education concepts).
  • Company integration programs; employment concepts for older and chronically ill people
  • Design and development of participative social relations in the company; employee management.

Regardless of integration and rehabilitation measures: Employees with a musculoskeletal disorder are often unable to return to their former jobs.

In addition, for employees with a musculoskeletal disorder, the focus is on medical reintegration and occupational integration after a longer illness. However, around 2000 recognized work-related illnesses and now regularly over ten percent early retirement in the course of a musculoskeletal disorder point to the limits of these measures every year. If occupational reintegration is not possible at all or only possible to a limited extent, the compensation procedure comes to the fore.

Physical stress: Failure of (re)integration and compensations in musculoskeletal disease.

A variety of significant and already known causal relationships exist between occupational (physical) exposure and the resulting potential musculoskeletal disorders.

Based on the BKV or the list of occupational diseases, an employer has the opportunity to identify exposures for which musculoskeletal disease prevention initiatives are particularly appropriate.

Physical stress: diseases to recognized occupational diseases

The Medical Expert Advisory Board "Occupational Diseases" is responsible for the entry of diseases in the catalog of occupational diseases. The Medical Expert Advisory Board is an advisory body that works without instructions and advises the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) on decision-making in medical-scientific matters. In this context, the Advisory Board reviews and evaluates the state of scientific knowledge on the one hand in connection with the adjustment of existing occupational diseases and on the other hand with the aim of integrating new occupational diseases into the Ordinance on Occupational Diseases. On the basis of the available research results, the Advisory Council submits corresponding proposals for action and positions to the Ministry following the investigation.


Physical stress: diseases of the musculoskeletal system

Other types of musculoskeletal disorders caused by high physical stress are currently being included in the so-called "consultation status" by the Medical Advisory Board. This represents a first, preliminary investigation in connection with the preparation of a new scientific opinion concerning a new occupational disease. With regard to two occupational diseases, an adequate scientific finding for a causal relationship between a possibly impairing consequence and the occurrence of these diseases could thus be obtained.

In the meantime, the ÄSVB examines the general applicability, i.e. the existence of medical-scientific knowledge about the principle causal relationship between possible adverse consequences and the occurrence of the disease, for its general suitability. The musculoskeletal disorders currently going through the consultation phase are osteoarthritis of the hip joint due to lifting and carrying heavy loads and musculoskeletal disorder of the shoulder due to work above the shoulder.

After determining general fitness, the occurrence of a so-called "group-typical increase in risk" is then determined. This involves assessing the extent to which a person exposed to the harmful effects of his or her insured activity has a significantly increased risk of disease compared with the general population.


Musculoskeletal disease and physical load: Determining the physical load using Motion-Mining®.

Ergonomics analyses in the course of the Motion-Mining® solution approach uncover hidden optimization potential. The solution approach allows an assessment of manual work using wearables (wearable sensors, similar to fitness trackers) and a deep learning algorithm, better known as artificial intelligence. Work processes are automatically and anonymously captured, processed by artificial intelligence, and converted into human-readable metrics. Currently, we distinguish between more than 60 different motion sequences in our ergonomics analyses. Critical movements such as bending from the back, carrying, lifting, holding, overhead activities are considered in the ergonomics analysis.

These movements are recorded in movement intervals, during the ergonomics analysis. In addition to the typical movements, vibrations and repetitions in particular can also be detected. Based on the data from the ergonomics analysis, overloads, and permanent stresses can be detected and measures to avoid them can be derived.

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