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Understanding Repetition

  • Issued: December 2009
  • Content last reviewed: December 2009

The risk of developing an MSD increases when the same parts of the body are used repeatedly, with few breaks or chances to rest. Highly repetitive tasks can lead to fatigue, tissue damage, and, eventually, pain and discomfort. This can occur even if the level of force is low and the work postures are not very awkward. The MSD risk increases if the repetitive action also requires high force and/or an awkward posture.

The MSD risk associated with repetition increases as:

  • The number or speed of actions increases
  • The muscles being used have to exert higher levels of force
  • The joint of the body move farther away from the neutral position and
  • The length of time the task is done without a break increases.

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