The Silenced Epidemic: The Impact of Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders on the Opioid Crisis

  • Room: 28 AB
  • Session Number:112
Wednesday,September 21, 2022:10:00 AM -11:00 AM


Blake McGowan
Director of Ergonomics Research
Laila El Hasan
Safety, Health, & Environment Specialist


More than 47,000 people die annually in the U.S. from the recently silenced epidemic, opioid overdose deaths. In under 20 years, opioid overdose death rates have increased by over 500%. Workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) have been identified as a key factor in opioid-related overdose deaths. Research found that 57% of those who died had at least one prior workplace MSD. There is a correlation between poor workplace ergonomics, jobs with high injury/illness rates, and opioid-related overdose death. It’s critical to implement workplace interventions to reduce hazards that lead to injuries for which opioids are prescribed. This includes deploying a process for identifying/controlling risk factors that lead to MSDs.