Research project on work related musculoskeletal disorders

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) was commissioned by The European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU OSHA) to carry out a research project regarding the national policies, and strategies on the prevention of work related musculoskeletal disorders.

The project was carried out because, despite many different strategies, campaigns and policy initiatives over the past 30 years, prevalence rates of MSDs across the EU are not reducing (although there have been relatively minor decreases in some individual countries).  The project focused on:

  • Improving knowledge on new and emerging risks and trends in relation to factors that contribute to work-related MSDs and identifying the related challenges.
  • Identifying gaps in current strategies for tackling work-related MSDs, at both policy and workplace level.
  • Investigating the effectiveness and quality of workplace interventions and risk assessment approaches.
  • Identifying new approaches for more effective MSDs prevention.

The research project “Review of research, policy and practice on prevention of work-related MSDs” had three main components:

  • an exploratory review that examined the reasons for the continued high prevalence of MSDs in the EU and identified gaps in prevention practice;
  • an extensive policy analysis, across EU countries and wider, to gain a better understanding of the conditions under which strategies, policies and actions to address MSDs are most effective;
  • a qualitative research study completed in six EU Member States to explore, through focus groups, what was happening at workplace level and, through interviews, the role of strategies and policies in MSD prevention.

Information collected by EU OSHA from all Member States identified more than 140 different policies and strategies, some from beyond the EU. Drawing on these, a deeper focus was given to 25 selected initiatives, each of which was reported as a Case Study:

https://osha.europa.eu/en/highlights/25-national-policy-initiatives-tackle-work-related-msds-0

From this base, in-depth explorations were carried out in six Member States (involving desk-top research; focus groups and interviews) to explore the adopted strategies or policies.  These Case Studies and Policy Case Studies are available here.

Further reports are in the pipeline to be published by EU OSHA and will be notified on our website in due course.

 

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