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Safety and health at work is everyone’s concern. It’s good for you. It’s good for business.
Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2020-22
LIGHTEN THE LOAD
Introduction to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) prevention
2
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
What are work-related MSDs?
Parts of the body typically affected
MSD risk factors
•physical and biomechanical
•organisational and psychosocial
•individual factors
Risk assessment
Tackling MSDs
The general principles of prevention
Overview
3
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Impairments of bodily structures, such as:
•Muscles
•Joints
•Tendons
•Ligaments
•Nerves
•Bones
Caused or aggravated primarily by work and by the effects
of the immediate environment in which work is carried out
What are work-related MSDs?
Pain Numbness Tingling Swelling
4
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Parts of the body typically affected
Back Upper limbs Lower limbs
Neck
Shoulders
Elbows
Back
Wrists /
Hands
Knees
Ankles / Feet
5
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Different groups of factors can
contribute to work-related MSDs,
including:
•physical and biomechanical
•organisational and psychosocial
•individual factors
These factors may act independently
or in combination.
MSD risk factors
6
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Work postures and movements can be harmful as a result
of repetition, duration or effort. For instance:
•heavy physical work (forceful exertion)
•heavy lifting
•repetitive movements
•awkward postures
•prolonged work tasks
•prolonged sitting or standing
•work tasks that have to be performed repeatedly or with
great precision.
Physical (also known as biomechanical) factors
7
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
The way work is organised might affect how burdensome
physical work tasks are:
• number of consecutive working hours
• opportunities for breaks
• the pace of the work and the variation of work tasks
•…
The following factors can also increase the risk of MSDs:
• lack of control over work tasks or over the pace at which
tasks are performed
• lack of support from colleagues or management
• unclear / conflicting roles
•…
Organisational and psychosocial factors
8
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Workers' characteristics can also be MSD risk factors
(if risks aren't managed properly):
•age
•gender
•height
•arm length
•condition of health (if they already suffer from an MSD or have
done so in the past)
•lack of knowledge of work techniques and safety procedures
•…
Individual factors
9
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Risk assessment
In order to prevent MSDs, a
workplace risk assessment
has to be carried out with the
purpose of identifying the
risks and trying to remove
them.
Everyone — employers,
managers, workers and OSH
services — should participate
Preparation
RISK
ASSESSMENT
10
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
MSDs are preventable and manageable
When discussing and agreeing on
actions to address MSD risks, it is
important to follow the general
principles of prevention.
Tackling MSDs
11
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
General principles (hierarchy) of prevention 1
Avoid the risks
• automate lifting and transport operations
Combat risks at their source
• reduce the height that loads needs to be lifted to
Adapt the work to the individual
• design the workplace to provide enough room for
workers to adopt the correct postures
• choose adjustable chairs and desks (that allow
workers to alternate between sitting and standing)
• allow breaks and variation in how tasks are
performed
Equipment and
workplace adaptation
12
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
General principles (hierarchy) of prevention 2
Adapt to technological progress:
• keep up to date with new assistive devices
and more ergonomic devices, tools and
equipment
Replace the risky with the safe or less risky
• replace manual handling of (heavy) loads
with mechanical handling
Develop a coherent policy that covers
technology, work organisation, working
conditions, social relationships and work
environment
Assistive devices
Workplace design
Ergonomic devices /
tools / equipment
13
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
General principles (hierarchy) of prevention 3
Implement collective measures first:
•Prioritise good-grip handles over anti-slip
gloves, smaller loads per lift over back
belts (lumbar support)
Provide good training and instructions
for workers:
•Provide practical training on the correct
use of work equipment (lifting devices,
chairs, furniture) and safe working postures
(sitting, standing).
Changes to job
duties and tasks
14
www.healthy-workplaces.eu
Join us and lighten the load!
Find out more on the campaign website:
healthy-workplaces.eu
Subscribe to our campaign newsletter:
https://healthy-workplaces.eu/en/healthy-workplaces-newsletter
Keep up to date with activities and events through social media:
#EUhealthyworkplaces

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Introduction to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) prevention

  • 1. Safety and health at work is everyone’s concern. It’s good for you. It’s good for business. Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2020-22 LIGHTEN THE LOAD Introduction to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) prevention
  • 2. 2 www.healthy-workplaces.eu What are work-related MSDs? Parts of the body typically affected MSD risk factors •physical and biomechanical •organisational and psychosocial •individual factors Risk assessment Tackling MSDs The general principles of prevention Overview
  • 3. 3 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Impairments of bodily structures, such as: •Muscles •Joints •Tendons •Ligaments •Nerves •Bones Caused or aggravated primarily by work and by the effects of the immediate environment in which work is carried out What are work-related MSDs? Pain Numbness Tingling Swelling
  • 4. 4 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Parts of the body typically affected Back Upper limbs Lower limbs Neck Shoulders Elbows Back Wrists / Hands Knees Ankles / Feet
  • 5. 5 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Different groups of factors can contribute to work-related MSDs, including: •physical and biomechanical •organisational and psychosocial •individual factors These factors may act independently or in combination. MSD risk factors
  • 6. 6 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Work postures and movements can be harmful as a result of repetition, duration or effort. For instance: •heavy physical work (forceful exertion) •heavy lifting •repetitive movements •awkward postures •prolonged work tasks •prolonged sitting or standing •work tasks that have to be performed repeatedly or with great precision. Physical (also known as biomechanical) factors
  • 7. 7 www.healthy-workplaces.eu The way work is organised might affect how burdensome physical work tasks are: • number of consecutive working hours • opportunities for breaks • the pace of the work and the variation of work tasks •… The following factors can also increase the risk of MSDs: • lack of control over work tasks or over the pace at which tasks are performed • lack of support from colleagues or management • unclear / conflicting roles •… Organisational and psychosocial factors
  • 8. 8 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Workers' characteristics can also be MSD risk factors (if risks aren't managed properly): •age •gender •height •arm length •condition of health (if they already suffer from an MSD or have done so in the past) •lack of knowledge of work techniques and safety procedures •… Individual factors
  • 9. 9 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Risk assessment In order to prevent MSDs, a workplace risk assessment has to be carried out with the purpose of identifying the risks and trying to remove them. Everyone — employers, managers, workers and OSH services — should participate Preparation RISK ASSESSMENT
  • 10. 10 www.healthy-workplaces.eu MSDs are preventable and manageable When discussing and agreeing on actions to address MSD risks, it is important to follow the general principles of prevention. Tackling MSDs
  • 11. 11 www.healthy-workplaces.eu General principles (hierarchy) of prevention 1 Avoid the risks • automate lifting and transport operations Combat risks at their source • reduce the height that loads needs to be lifted to Adapt the work to the individual • design the workplace to provide enough room for workers to adopt the correct postures • choose adjustable chairs and desks (that allow workers to alternate between sitting and standing) • allow breaks and variation in how tasks are performed Equipment and workplace adaptation
  • 12. 12 www.healthy-workplaces.eu General principles (hierarchy) of prevention 2 Adapt to technological progress: • keep up to date with new assistive devices and more ergonomic devices, tools and equipment Replace the risky with the safe or less risky • replace manual handling of (heavy) loads with mechanical handling Develop a coherent policy that covers technology, work organisation, working conditions, social relationships and work environment Assistive devices Workplace design Ergonomic devices / tools / equipment
  • 13. 13 www.healthy-workplaces.eu General principles (hierarchy) of prevention 3 Implement collective measures first: •Prioritise good-grip handles over anti-slip gloves, smaller loads per lift over back belts (lumbar support) Provide good training and instructions for workers: •Provide practical training on the correct use of work equipment (lifting devices, chairs, furniture) and safe working postures (sitting, standing). Changes to job duties and tasks
  • 14. 14 www.healthy-workplaces.eu Join us and lighten the load! Find out more on the campaign website: healthy-workplaces.eu Subscribe to our campaign newsletter: https://healthy-workplaces.eu/en/healthy-workplaces-newsletter Keep up to date with activities and events through social media: #EUhealthyworkplaces

Editor's Notes

  1. EU-OSHA, 2007. ‘Factsheet 71 — Introduction to work-related musculoskeletal disorders’ (available at https://osha.europa.eu/en/tools-and-publications/publications/factsheets/71/view).
  2. Percentage of workers reporting different musculoskeletal disorders in the past 12 months, EU-28, 2015. Source: Sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015) EU-OSHA, `Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: prevalence, costs and demographics in the EU´, 2019, p. 45 . Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/msds-facts-and-figures-overview-prevalence-costs-and-demographics-msds-europe/view The most common MSD types among workers in the EU-28 are backache and muscular pains in the upper limbs (43 % and 41 %, respectively, in 2015). Muscular pains in lower limbs are reported less often (29 % in 2015). Based on ‘Sixth European Working Conditions Survey’ (EWCS), 2015. Analysis carried out by EU-OSHA. More information about this survey available at: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/surveys/european-working-conditions-surveys/ sixth-european-working-conditions-survey-2015
  3. Exposure to a combination of risk factors should be considered when assessing work-related MSDs.
  4. Lack of control over work tasks or over how or the pace at which tasks are performed, as well as a lack of support from colleagues or management, can also increase the risk of MSDs. This is because workers won't take the proper precautions or adopt safe working postures if they feel under too much pressure at work, and thus psychosocial factors become risk factors for MSDs. Excessive workload and high work intensity can both increase workers' stress levels, which in turn can increase their muscular tension and their sensitivity to feeling pain.
  5. Risk assessment Risk assessment is essential for successful prevention. Everyone — employers, managers, workers and OSH services — should participate in identifying risks and ways of managing them. All groups of workers should be covered. The risk assessment process should be regularly revised and updated. Step-by-step risk assessment for work-related MSDs Preparation: Decide who will lead the risk assessment process. Review all available information on MSDs in the company. Identification Identify MSD risk factors and exposure in the workplace. Identify those at risk Evaluation: Evaluate the risks arising from the hazards identified by considering: how likely it is that a hazard will cause harm how serious that harm is likely to be how often (and how many) workers are exposed to the risk Set priorities based on the risk evaluations. 4. Action plan Agree what actions will be taken to eliminate or reduce the risks Sept up an action plan 5. Taking action Implement the agreed actions Ensure that the responsable people implement the agreed preventive and protective measures 6. Monitoring and reviewing Monitor the implementation of the agreed actions Review the whole cycle of assessing the risks The risk assessment must be recorded.
  6. These measures are presented as examples. Most of them could be considered ‘good practice’ examples and are therefore not necessarily mandatory or relevant to all workplaces. Their relevance will depend on the specificities of each workplace (and the outcomes of risk assessments).
  7. These measures are presented as examples. Most of them could be considered ‘good practice’ examples and are therefore not necessarily mandatory or relevant to all workplaces. Their relevance will depend on the specificities of each workplace (and the outcomes of risk assessments).
  8. These measures are presented as examples. Most of them could be considered ‘good practice’ examples and are therefore not necessarily mandatory or relevant to all workplaces. Their relevance will depend on the specificities of each workplace (and the outcomes of risk assessments).
  9. © European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2020 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.