Musculoskeletal disorders are disorders involving the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage and spine. A work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) is a musculoskeletal disorder that results from, or is exacerbated by, conditions in the workplace environment or the performance of work tasks. Examples of workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders include carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, sciatica and rotator cuff syndrome. A work-related musculoskeletal disorder may also be called a cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), repetitive strain injury (RSI), or overuse injury.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are conditions that are caused by ongoing practices in the workplace or the workplace environment itself. Typically, accidental or temporary injuries are not considered WRMDs, though some regulatory boards around the world do include them. Instead, these disorders arise as a result of the employee’s actual work process. Bodily reactions to working conditions, such as twisting or bending, overexertion or repetitive motions, are common causes of WRMDs. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are often more severe than other non-fatal workplace injuries and disorders and result in increased worker absenteeism, lost productivity, increased health care costs, higher numbers of worker disability and worker’s compensation claims.