Overhead Work – Reduce the Injury Risk


Kayla M. Fewster & Clark R. Dickerson

Key messages

  • Overhead work is a known MSD risk strongly related to the development of shoulder injuries
  • Whenever possible, overhead work should be completely eliminated
  • When overhead work tasks must remain, careful job design can help lower MSD injury risk

Implications for the prevention of MSD

When overhead work must be completed:

  • apply force in-line with gravity, either up or down
  • decrease hand force/tool mass, duty cycle and/or overall cycle time
  • keep the upper arm below 60 degrees of elevation
  • rest often
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Link to CRE-MSD Position Paper