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February 1, 2022

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musculoskeletal disorders

Preventing musculoskeletal disorders when teleworking 

An information sheet from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has been published, highlighting a growing trend in teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Home-based working has some advantages, it says, such as saving time on the office commute. However, it is also associated with an increase in prolonged sitting, social isolation from colleagues and difficulty in disconnecting. 

The information sheet explains why this can have a negative impact on teleworkers’ health and contribute to the development or exacerbation of musculoskeletal disorders. It includes advice for workers and employers on creating a comfortable and healthy home office and advice on staying active during the teleworking day. 

The key points are: 

  • It is crucial to identify and address MSD risk factors related to telework.  
  • A risk assessment of the home workplace is the first step.  
  • It is important to adopt a multidisciplinary approach in tackling MSD risks related to telework.  
  • Optimise workplace ergonomics and environment, move, change posture, take regular breaks, and stay connected with colleagues and supervisors.  
  • Providing education and training creates awareness and helps teleworkers to make optimal use of dynamic workstations and stay active throughout the working day.  
  • A clear telework policy setting out provisions on ergonomic equipment, healthy (dis)connecting, who assesses the risks, etc, is key. 

To access the document provided by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), click here.

For further information on musculoskeletal disorders, register for access to SHP’s on-demand webinar, Musculoskeletal disorders (managing the risk and the HSE assessment tools), here. 

Eager to learn some top tips for undertaking a manual handling risk assessment? Register for SHP’s upcoming webinar, Manual handling? Don’t do it until you have risk assessed!, taking place on Wednesday 23 February, here.

Safety & Health Podcast

Listen, as Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, talks about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

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