Musculoskeletal disorders comprise the largest group of work-related injuries and are behind 30% of all workers’ compensation costs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The direct cost of MSDs on U.S. companies, according to the CDC, is some $50 billion. Workers in California and across the U.S. should know that MSDs include muscle strain, ligament strains, herniated discs and carpal tunnel syndrome.

A survey from Willis Towers Watson involving 2,000 workers has found that most people, 68% of the respondents, link their MSDs to their job. A startling 87% of workers aged 18 to 24 made this link: more than any other age group. The 25-to-34-year-olds were not far behind at 80%. On the other hand, 58% of those over 55 claimed that their jobs contributed to their MSD. The study did not explain why this might be so.

At the same time, younger workers tend to be less confident that their employers can do anything to help maintain good musculoskeletal health. Whether employers do their part or not, there are several things that workers themselves can do, and it all revolves around ergonomics. Ergonomic risk factors for MSDs include poor posture and repetitive motions. Employees must be able to balance work with rest and fitness, too.

MSDs are also known as repetitive work injuries, but this is misleading because it suggests a set of causes that’s narrower than it is in reality. Whatever the name it goes by, it can form the basis for a workers’ compensation claim. Victims will need to show that their injuries were indeed work-related, but they do not need to prove that anyone was negligent or reckless in order to qualify for benefits. Since there can be opposition to their claim, victims may want to hire a lawyer, especially for filing an appeal.