Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a serious health concern for the NSW mining and extractives industry, accounting for more than 40% of workers’ compensation claims. Education is crucial: an awareness study [PDF, 1748.07 KB] found that knowledge of MSDs was poor, with only 22% of respondents claiming to be “very” or “quite” aware of the term.

We have developed several publications to help mine operators reduce the incidence and severity of MSDs, including a Guide to managing musculoskeletal disorders [PDF, 583.87 KB] and a Guide to managing screens and screen maintenance [PDF, 3195.85 KB].

The term ‘musculoskeletal disorder’ is an umbrella term for related injuries and disorders that can occur suddenly or over time. These include:

  • sprains and strains of muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • back injuries, including damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal discs, nerves, joints and bones
  • joint injuries or degeneration, including injuries to the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, hands and feet
  • bone and nerve injuries
  • soft tissue hernias
  • muscular and vascular disorders as a result of hand-arm vibration.

These hazards and risk factors can lead to the development of a MSD:

  • awkward postures
  • forceful exertions
  • repetitive actions or duration
  • vibration of hand or arm and whole body (including jolting and jarring)
  • slips, trips and falls and other environmental factors.