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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
February 23, 2020

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Musculoskeletal Conditions

What are Musculoskeletal Conditions?

Musculoskeletal conditions comprise more than 150 conditions that affect the locomotor system of individuals. They range from those that arise suddenly and are short-lived, such as fractures, sprains and strains, to lifelong conditions associated with ongoing functioning limitations and disability.

What are Musculoskeletal Conditions?

back pain

Musculoskeletal conditions are typically characterised by pain (often persistent) and limitations in mobility, dexterity and overall level of functioning, reducing people’s ability to work. Musculoskeletal conditions include conditions that affect:

  • Joints, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Bones, such as osteoporosis, osteopenia and associated fragility fractures, traumatic fractures.
  • Muscles, such as sarcopenia.
  • The spine, such as back and neck pain.
  • Multiple body areas or systems, such as regional and widespread pain disorders and inflammatory diseases such as connective tissue diseases and vasculitis that have musculoskeletal manifestations, for example systemic lupus erythematosus.

Musculoskeletal conditions are also the highest contributor to the global need for rehabilitation. They are among the largest contributors to the need for rehabilitation services among children and account for approximately two-thirds of all adults in need of rehabilitation.

According to the World Health Organization’s factsheet:

  • Approximately 1.71 billion people have musculoskeletal conditions worldwide.
  • Among musculoskeletal disorders, low back pain causes the highest burden with a prevalence of 568 million people.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability in 160 countries.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions significantly limit mobility and dexterity, leading to early retirement from work, lower levels of well-being and reduced ability to participate in society.
  • Because of population increases and ageing, the number of people with musculoskeletal conditions is rapidly increasing.
  • The disability associated with musculoskeletal conditions has been increasing and is projected to continue to increase in the next decades.

Do your employees use laptops on their laps? Here’s why they shouldn’t

Adam Clarke, Managing Director at Praxis42 discusses the risks associated with laptops and provides practical guidelines for safe and effective use.

Compensation claims and strains – is AI the solution?

Gareth Buchanan COO at Soter Analytics suggests Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be the answer to the UK’s workplace injury crisis.

AI in action: Reshaping ergonomic safety strategies in the automotive industry

A new use-case suggests AI could have a significant impact on workplace ergonomics in vehicle manufacturing. Matthew Hart at Soter Analytics explains more.

Managing DSE remotely and trends in health problems post pandemic

SHP hears from Adam Clarke at Praxis42 on display screen equipment (DSE), possible health issues from the increase in remote working and steps for organisations to avoid this.

The future? Artificial Intelligence and safety

Is safety a good fit for AI? Graham Sharp at Stanley thinks so. Here he shares how the technology is changing the landscape.

Addressing MSK-related absence and costs in today’s workplace

Marc Holl, Head of Primary Care at Nuffield Health discusses musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions in the workplace and methods of support from employers.

Easing the load? – HSE’s Work Right Construction campaign

Emma Evans and Anthony Grogan at Brabners LLP on an HSE’s initiative to combat the growing cases of construction workers suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.

CHAS offers guidance on preventing injuries to muscles, bones & joints

With the HSE set to undertake a thousand inspections during October and November in an effort to drive down the rates of muscular skeletal disorders (MSD’s) in the construction industry, Alex Minett, Head of Products & Markets at CHAS, looks at the steps workers and employers can take to prevent these injuries on site.

Managing risk and MSD risk assessment at work

In this episode, we hear from Matt Birtles from HSE and Matt Powell Howard from NEBOSH, as they discuss musculoskeletal disorders, risk assessment and risk management. Both provide insightful tips on how to best identify, mitigate and manage risk.

Everything you need to know about manual handling risk assessments

‘Go on, put your back into it!’ Not what you want to hear when it comes to manual handling. Instead, this is an area where investing time in risk assessment and task-specific training are essential when it comes to avoiding people suffering short- or long-term pain. A wide range of technology already exists to avoid or significantly reduce the impact of manual handling; spend the time to investigate what might be suitable for you.

Using AI sensors on-the-job to reduce lost time injuries

As part of its safety processes, Wincanton wanted to be able to give movement training to colleagues whilst on the job so they could learn how they were moving whilst working rather than only in a classroom setting…

How to keep your people healthy when using display screen equipment?

Despite being one of the lower risk activities in the workplace and having technology available to us, the use of display screen equipment is not always well managed. With more people working from home, now is time to engage and help support their health and wellbeing.

Health and safety has never been so visible – could we lose focus in 2022?

Simon Walter, Co-Director at Rhino Safety, shares his thoughts on the role health and safety should play in the workplace in 2022.

Lighten the load

A dedicated focus on preventing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is driving changes that can be applied not just in the workplace, but also at home.

The missing link in manual handling

The statistics are impossible to ignore. 470,000 workers suffered from a work-related MSDs in Great Britain in 2020-21. In 2019-20 MSDs accounted for 8.9million lost working days in Great Britain.

Preventing musculoskeletal disorders when teleworking 

An information sheet from the EU-OSHA has been published, highlighting a growing trend in teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders

Matt Birtles, HSE’s Principal Ergonomics Consultant, looks at the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Manual handling? Don’t do it until you have risk assessed!

In this on-demand webinar, sponsored by NEBOSH, you’ll get top tips for undertaking a manual handling risk assessment.

Musculoskeletal disorders (managing risk and the HSE assessment tools)

In this on-demand webinar, hear from the Health and Safety Executive and partners about musculoskeletal disorders and how you can best manage the risks.

Call to action issued over the need for adequate knee protection in the workplace

ToughBuilt is calling for greater awareness of the need for adequate knee protection to safeguard the nation’s workforce.

Government working from home advert ‘shows a complete lack of understanding around health and safety’, says British Safety Council

British Safety Council says ‘Government advert risks legitimising poor practice, the costs of which ultimately end up on the NHS’.

Redesigning how employees operate within their workstations to improve safety

Helping to understand which jobs present the highest risk of injury and what steps can be taken to mitigate that risk.

MSDs in the agriculture sector: From identifying the risks to adopting preventive measures

EU-OSHA has published a discussion paper, which looks at the use of mechanisation to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, especially upper limb disorders, in the agricultural sector.

Musculoskeletal disorders are the focus of European Week for Safety and Health at Work

EU-OSHA’s European Week for Safety and Health at Work, taking place from 19 to 23 October, marks the official launch of the Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load campaign, which focuses on musculoskeletal disorders.

Occupational exoskeletons: Wearable robotic devices and preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace of the future

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) publishes occupational exoskeleton report.

Return to Work after COVID-19: Safety managers urged to act now to prevent injuries

Workers returning to work after being furloughed are putting their bodies at risk due to no longer being at full working strength. The world is about to see the biggest return to work program ever faced.

Occupational health and safety in the home

Around 8.7 million people said that they worked from home in 2019 – less than 30% of the UK workforce – according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics. The same survey also reported that only 1.7 million regularly worked from home.

John Lewis Partnership reduces worker absenteeism in the UK

Retail giant saves £25m and 260,000 working days in the last five years.

Updating your wellbeing business case for 2020

Heather Beach looks at two reports, published to support your business case for organisational wellbeing – one from Deloitte and one from Robertson Cooper.

Ergonomics and wearables in safety

The advent of differing types of ergonomic PPE and wearable technology, designed to keep workers safe, has seen an increase of new products coming into the market.

There’s more to be done to improve health and safety in logistics, says HSE

Logistics may be becoming more sustainable, but is it becoming safer? Kanwal Kanda, Head of Transportation at the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), took to the stage at IMHX 2019 to discuss the body’s latest findings about health and safety within transportation and storage in 2017/18.

What do ‘snowflakes’ and ‘baby boomers’ expect from their employers?

Nichola Ebbern, Associate Director at Capita, held a seminar focusing on how organisations can balance the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees.

Are we going through the Age of Integration?

The calls for change are legion. A decade ago, Dame Carol Black, called for health and wellbeing to be moved up the corporate agenda. IOSH called on the UK Government to take health more seriously. Latterly, Stevenson and Farmer lamented the organisational over-focus on physical safety risk.

Home workers in risk of musculoskeletal disorders

employers must provide extra care for employees that work from home, or there will be an increase number of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Four key aspects of workplace wellbeing

Silvana Martin from Laing O’Rourke speaks on the company’s five year journey to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.

What do you really need to know about DSE?

From cycle to work schemes to free fitness trackers, there’s a growing number of businesses in the UK paying attention to the wellbeing of their people. This article discusses whether DSE assessments are still relevant and how to conduct them.

Improving staff productivity and wellbeing at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Physiotherapy provision helps trust save almost half a million pounds.

Wellbeing at work: Developing real leadership buzz

Professor Andrew Sharman speaks on how to sustain and create wellbeing in the workplace.

Can technology make the workplace safer? 10 ways to introduce risk free tech

The introduction of technology driven solutions into the manufacturing industry has seen a drop in reported cases of workplace injuries and occupational diseases.

Stricter work at height regulation may be the only way to stop avoidable deaths

Falls from height is a major killer of workers in key sectors including construction and agriculture, and the figures show no sign of improvement, as Ken Diable, Managing Director at Heightsafe, explains.

Violence in the NHS: One in five NHS staff experience harassment at work

Just under one in five NHS staff have personally having experienced harassment, bullying or abuse at work from other colleagues, according to a new survey.

Mental health in farming: Campaign urges farmers to ‘mind your head’

A new campaign has been launched to tackle the stigma of mental health in the farming community.

Councils face call to end box collections on safety grounds

The study by the University of Greenwich and published by IOSH warns that waste collection systems using boxes could be causing “significant” long-term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for workers.

Council issues smaller recycling boxes to protect staff

South Lakeland District Council has started to issue residents with 44-litre rather than 55-litre blue recycling boxes in order to reduce the potential risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to council staff and members of the public.

Musculoskeletal Disorders – The biggest financial risk to your business

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX, discusses the implications of Musculoskeletal Disorders and advises how employers can help reduce the risk to employees by selecting the right safety footwear.

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