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Army April 11, 2013
BODY stressing, also known
as musculoskeletal disorder,
is a result of stresses placed
on muscles, tendons, liga-
ments and bones.
The Director of Safety Policy
and Assurance, John Mathieson,
describes body stressing as a critical
issue for people who spend much of
their day at a computer.
"Comcare tells us that nearly
half of all compensable workplace
injuries in the Comcare scheme
are classed as body stressing inju-
ries. These are the leading cause
of permanent work disability," Mr
Body stressing has many forms,
but will usually present as muscle
strains or aches and pains, back con-
ditions and joint inflammation.
"The impact of body stressing
injuries is serious," Mr Mathieson
"When we look at the causes of
total days lost in Defence Support
and Reform Group, body stressing
comes second only to mental stress."
Posture and work practices first
For those currently in a desk job, are good posture and work practices
as important to you as getting the job done? Here, we look at body
stressing, a condition that can cause lots of issues in the workplace.
Crunch time for
Don't slump: Poor posture at work is just one of the risk factors for body
stressing and developing musculoskeletal disorder.
Photo by LS Paul Berry
come to mind when considering the
prevention of body stressing or the
development of musculoskeletal dis-
However, there is a growing body
of research that indicates personal
factors and the quality of the work-
ing environment influence the risk of
developing the condition.
Mr Mathieson said that while
musculoskeletal disorder typical-
ly arose from work processes that
involved repetitive movements or
manual tasks, it was caused by the
combination and possible interaction
of a range of biomechanical and psy-
"The first step towards prevent-
ing body stressing is to look at the
risks related to each task for each
position," he said.
Biomechanical risk factors
include posture, lifting, over-reach-
ing or stretching.
Psychosocial factors -- or non-
physical aspects -- of the work envi-
ronment, include demands, repeti-
tiveness, job control, job satisfaction,
role clarity or social support at work.
Individual health and wellbeing
also have a large role to play, as do
hydration levels and the number of
hours spent each day on a task.
The Safety Policy and Assurance
website on the DRN offers the latest
research, tips on prevention, resourc-
es and references.
More information is available by contact-
ing the Directorate of Safety Policy and
Assurance team through their group email
Source: Behind The Lines issue February, 2013
When we look at
the causes of total
days lost ... body
second only to
-- John Mathieson, Director of
Safety Policy and Assurance
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