Injury Facts for the Delivery Industry

What is MSD? MSD is the acronym for musculoskeletal disorder.

The problem of occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is serious and widespread. Lost workday MSDs constitute one-third of all job-related injuries and illnesses reported to BLS (Bureau of Labor And Statistics) every year. MSDs of the back are one of the most costly workplace injuries and account for a very large percentage of permanent occupational disability cases and costs annually.

It is a fact that manufacturing production and manual handling jobs account for the largest share of workers' compensation costs. Studies indicate that manual handling jobs in which employees do forceful exertions repeatedly or for an appreciable period of time are associated with elevated risks of harm. Other studies indicate that the rate and duration of continuous lifting significantly reduces the worker's lifting capacity, making the worker more susceptible to MSDs associated with lifting.

According to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, low-back pain is the most prevalent and costly work-related MSD in the nation. Each year MSDs alone account for about $15-20 billion in workers' compensation costs, which is roughly $1 of every $3 spent for workers' compensation. The average costs for MSD cases are higher than those for other injuries. According to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, low-back pain is the most prevalent and costly work-related MSD in the nation. Low-back pain MSDs account for 15% of all Liberty Mutual workers' compensation claims and 23% of the costs of these claims.

Since 1993, the first year BLS began reporting data on musculoskeletal disorders, private industry employers have reported more than 620,000 MSDs every year that have been serious enough to result in days away from work for the employee, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Average Cost per WC Claim by Type of Injury

Manual Handling Jobs as Defined by OSHA

Manual handling jobs are jobs in which employees perform forceful lifting/lowering, pushing/pulling, carrying, or that require forceful exertions. Manual handling jobs include only those jobs in which forceful manual handling is a core element of the employee's job. These jobs typically include unloading supplies or products that are delivered on a regular basis. These also include jobs where employees end up doing manual handling on a routine or regular basis even if manual handing is not included in their job description.

OSHA has developed a general principle and that principle is: Focus on areas where problems are severe and solutions are well-understood. OSHA, based on this guiding principle, will cover manufacturing, manual handling and general industry jobs where there are MSDs.

Because a positive physical finding is able to be observed by others, unlike a symptom, OSHA considers positive physical findings to be a recordable MSD, even if the employee has not missed work, been placed on work restrictions, or received medical treatment for the problem.

Data Sources: OSHA, BLS, WCRIB