Hand and Arm WMSD Hazards

WMSD means pain. WMSD means Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder. We cover WMSD in hands and arms in this podcast.

Swinging a hammer all day can give you WMSD. So can using a computer keyboard and mouse. Repetitive motions, awkward postures and using heavy force can all cause WMSD. Find relief from these tasks to avoid prolonged injury.

Listen for the different types of WMSD, and how to avoid them with good hand safety and tool safety!


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Hand_And_Arm_WMSD_Hazards-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Dan Clark: Your hand and arm take a lot of punishment when you’re pounding with a hammer or using a vibrating tool. You could develop WMSD. What’s that? I’ll tell you, and how to lessen the impact on your body.

It’s me, Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Holding a hedge trimmer. Pounding sheet-metal. Using a computer mouse.

All of these work-related tasks are hard on your body. After so much abuse, you could get WMSD, Work-related MusculoSkeletal Disorder. I’ll refer to it as WMSD. This is an injury of the joints, the muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves that happens because of work, or is made worse by work conditions.

WMSDs are not the result of an accident. They develop over time. They’re caused by:

  • Repetitive motions.
  • Using a lot of force to perform a task.
  • Awkward body postures or arm angles.
  • Recovery times during the workday that aren’t long enough for the body to fully recover.

WMSD hand and arm causes are, many times, related to tool use. Repetition, odd arm angles, and force placed on the hands and arms all play a role.

WMSDs of the hand and arm come in many varieties:

  • Tendonitis – caused by overuse of the tendons, many times the result of using tools that don’t fit the hand right. Symptoms include pain and swelling.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – not just something that happens to computer workers.This can result from any activity that bends the wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs the length of your forearm, is compressed. Symptoms include pain, tingling and burning sensations in the hands.


  • Raynaud’s Syndrome – this is also called white finger disease, a disorder of the blood vessels and nerves in the hands. It’s caused by vibration, often from hand or power tools. Symptoms include white fingers, a weakened grip, pain and numbness.
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – this is caused by reduced blood flow to the shoulder and arm, many times the result of doing work overhead. Symptoms include a pain in the neck, shoulder, arm or hand, and sometimes weakness or numbness in the hand.

Now, if you have any of these symptoms, get with a doctor. These conditions can get worse over time if they’re not treated.

Tips for avoiding WMSDs of the hand and arm include:

  • Don’t use tools for tasks they aren’t designed for.
  • Pick tools of the right size and weight.
  • Choose tools that let you keep your wrists straight when you use them.
  • Avoid using awkward body postures as much as possible.
  • Take breaks to let arms and hands recover.

That’s it for this episode on Hand And Arm WMSD Hazards. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com



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