Information on Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)
- Suggested steps
- Useful links to further information
- Other useful references or other resources
Musculoskeletal disorders, MSDs, are currently the most commonly reported work-related condition in Britain. These disorders affect muscles, joints, tendons and other supporting tissue and are associated with pain and reduction in the normal range of activity.
Whilst not all MSDs can be prevented, the employer has an important role in controlling workplace factors associated with these conditions, and encouraging employees to reporting MSDs at an early stage and seek appropriate treatment.
- Identify high risk workplace activities, particularly those affecting most employees. HSE has developed an online Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC) Tool to assist you in this process (see www.hse.gov.uk/msd).
- Involve employees and Safety Representatives at an early stage in developing risk reduction measures for those activities which cannot be avoided, and in planning new work activities.
- Encourage early reporting of MSDs, and monitor trends in absence to identify which work groups are most at risk.
- Establish contact with the employee at an early stage, to ensure that they have access to appropriate advice and support from their GP, and where available Occupational Health service and therapists such as physiotherapy.
- Try to facilitate a return to work by making temporary adjustments to the work role or place of work.
- Investigate work-related injuries, and risk management strategies as appropriate. Ensure you are complying with relevant legislation.
- Provide appropriate information and training on safe movement and handling activities, work with VDUs and activities involving use of force, frequent repetition, uncomfortable work positions, and high job demands.
- Provide information on fitness and healthy lifestyles.
- HSE site on musculoskeletal disorders
- BackCare, the charity for healthier backs
- The Ergonomics Society
- Securing Health Together
- Search HSE Publications
- National Back Exchange
- HSG60 Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) in the Workplace (ISBN 0717619788)
- INDG171 Aching arms (or RSI) in small businesses (free leaflet)
- A pain in your workplace? Ergonomic problems and solutions (ISBN 0717606686 )