The risk of musculoskeletal disorders depends on the interaction of person and task, as does the effectiveness of options for reducing those risks. A full specification would require much more detailed treatment of person-task combinations than is possible here. We have, instead, focused on the scientific principles that should guide the prediction and prevention of problems.
We have not reviewed the full range of consequences of musculoskeletal disorders and interventions related to them. For example, we have not evaluated the effects of ergonomics programs on employee productivity, turnover, and morale. Nor have we examined the effects of musculoskeletal disorders on the economic and psychological well-being of injured individuals and their families. Rational decision making must consider the full set of relevant consequences.
Rational decision making also depends on the relative importance attached to the different consequences. Different people and institutions will have different values and different opportunities for action, at the governmental, employer, and individual levels.