Musculoskeletal injuries – update from HSE and impact on the workplace

Published: 8 Mar 2018

HSE reported that in the UK approximately 507,000 workers suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (new or long-standing) in 2016/17 which led to 8.9 million working days lost in that year. This highlights the need to ensure that all staff are working safely at work. Keeping employees safe benefits both staff and employer.

Musculoskeletal disorders can affect all parts of the body including muscles, joints and tendons. They can be for a short period, or chronic in duration and result from an injury sustained in a work-related accident. This can be from manual handling, repetition of a certain task or forced concentrated movement in one area of the body.

The best way to avoid musculoskeletal injuries is firstly to be proactive and reduce the chance of it occurring in the first place. This can be by either removing the high risk activity, if you can’t do that, carefully assess the risks of the activity. This can be by doing a risk assessment (manual handling risk assessment) and also a specific risk assessment for the actual manual handling task (this could include a DSE assessment)

Secondly ensure that all staff take responsibility for themselves and ensure all employees at the site/company have their roles clearly defined and the information they need to be successful in their role. Training will ensure that everyone understands their role and is properly equipped to follow through in the workplace.

In addition, the HSE have released a new downloadable tool to help to help businesses and organisations reduce the likelihood of their employees suffering from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the upper limbs associated with repetitive tasks. The tool can help identify where the significant risks lie and suggest where to focus risk reduction measures and help prioritise improvements.

More information regarding this can be found on the HSE website.