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Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) among roofers are strongly linked to work limitation, missed work and overall
reduced physical ability. The term MSD refers to any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the
upper/lower limbs or the back. Identifying risk factors that contribute to MSDs and determining solution based
controls can significantly affect an employees comfort, productivity and career longevity.

Know the Cause – Common risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders in roofing construction include:

• Lifting heavy and bulky materials such as a bundle of shingles
• Improper lifting practices, such as twisting, reaching, sideways bending or unequal lifting
• Pushing and pulling when tearing off old roof materials and during installation of new materials
• Maintaining awkward body positions for an extended period, such as bending, stooping, reaching/crawling, crouching/kneeling
• Repetitive tasks such as manually hammering nails

Work smarter, not harder – Implement the following best practices to work more efficiently:

• Before beginning any work shift, utilize a brief 3-5 minute warm-up to promote blood flow to muscles
• Before completely lifting a load, perform a test lift to determine if the weight is within your safe lifting ability
• Do not initiate a lift if you are in doubt of your ability to safely handle the load
• Carry materials in small quantities and team lift large or bulky items
• Avoid lifting heavy, awkward or repetitive loads
• Determine the proper grip, body position and travel route before you lift
• Avoid unnecessarily accepting or handing off a heavy weighted object
• Never use your back in a crane-like motion to pick up an object
• Never use excessive force when performing a task or when using a tool
• Avoid constant pressure on your body coming from hard surfaces and sharp edges
• Wear warm clothing to keep your body temperature up while working in the cold
• Report any and all suspected MSD injuries to your foreman or supervisor immediately
• Focus on wellness by maintaining a reasonable diet and fitness regimen


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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