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Cumulative Trauma – Steps to Reduce Claim Frequency and Risk

- March 6, 2019 by Mark Yeck, CIH, CSP (View all posts by Mark)

Cumulative Trauma (CT) Disorder is a difficult and complicated topic. CT claims account for a large volume of claims across all industries and are often associated with repetitive motions, high force, and awkward position tasks. Although it is difficult to predict how the human body may react to conditions in the workplace, best practices have emerged over the years as the field of Industrial Ergonomics has continued to grow and identify actions that can help reduce frequency and risk of CT.

CT management is part of a broader overall ergonomics program. In one example, some of the best improvements from an OSHA inspection settlement agreement reduced a companies CTD rates by 90 percent and included:

  • Developing an ergonomics task force
  • Identifying all current employees with symptoms
  • Conducting ergonomic assessments at each operation, identifying stress producing activities such as too much force, awkward position, too much reach, etc.
  • Working to develop control strategies for each stress agent, following the hierarchy of controls (eliminating the stressor, Engineering the stressor out, Administrative control such as job rotation)
  • Creating an ergonomic module within existing safety program activity that provides orientation training to help employees and managers identify symptoms and stressors early in the process before an injury occurs
    • Part of the ergonomic module consists of a training program that has specific training for employees, supervisors, medical management, and audits
    • Developing enhanced medical management processes such as setting baselines, injury and job position review schedules, and stretching with strengthening exercise regimes by job title
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