Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) are defined as injuries to the musculoskeletal system that develop gradually as a result of repeated motion. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), tendinitis, tenosynovitis, Raynaud’s syndrome, and De Quervain’s disease are examples of CTDs.

CTS is a significant loss exposure in certain industrial operations – it can reduce a worker’s efficiency, disrupt workflow, work scheduling, and increase workers’ compensation costs. CTS may also lead to other serious injuries – afflicted workers may not be able to sense heat and cold, and may drop materials and tools on themselves and others due to the loss of feeling in their hands. The primary control measures for CTS are administrative controls, such as task redesign and job rotation, and tool substitution or modification. The following checklist may help in evaluating a worker’s potential for CTS.

Administrative Issues




Are pre-placement medical exams used to identify existing signs of CTS?      
Are workers trained to recognize and report the early symptoms of CTS?      
Are all jobs analyzed to identify tasks requiring the employee to work with a bent wrist?      
Are proper temperatures maintained?      
Are job rotation and job transfer alternatives established and used?      
Are work gloves fitted and well-maintained?      
Are work-surface heights adjusted to reduce the need to bend the wrist?      
Are work surfaces inclined and the worker-to-work distance changed to reduce the need to bend the wrist?      
Are tool handles large enough to span the palm?      
Are tool handles shaped to eliminate the need to bend the wrist while working?      
Are tool handles equipped with flanges, where applicable?      
Are tool handles properly sized to fit comfortably in the worker’s hand?      
Are heavy tools supported or balanced to reduce strain?      
Are tools of proper capacity to complete the task without excessive effort by the worker?      
Are power tools selected to reduce vibration?      
Are triggers replaced with a “full hand” control, foot control, or automatic switching?        


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