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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.

Display Screen Equipment: Employee factsheet

The term Display Screen Equipment (DSE) covers not just PCs but also laptops, tablets and smartphones.

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.

Wellbeing: Director’s Briefing

Wellbeing is a state of being happy and healthy in our bodies (physically) and in our minds (mentally). Mental Health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which an individual can cope with the normal stresses of life and can work productively.

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.

New figures reveal 1.4m suffered from work-related ill-health last year

The HSE’s annual injury and ill-health statistics have been revealed.

Sheffield Children’s NHS foundation trust saves £198,492 with physiotherapy provision

The avoidance of musculoskeletal disorders amongst its employees is of paramount importance to the Trust.

MOD to examine wearable technology for injury prevention

A Ministry of Defence agency has invited businesses to come forward with ideas on how wearable technology could help prevent soldiers from being injured in combat.

Ergonomic office chairs: Firms urged to offer them to staff

Employers have a legal duty to take steps to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal pain in the workplace, with back, neck and muscle pain accounting for half of absences from work, says specialist furniture suppliers Rainbow Zebra.

Injured and laid up? Whose job is it to get you back to work?

No-one wants to suffer an injury, but it happens. However if, during your leisure time, you sustain an injury that prevents you from working, whose problem is it? Does your employer have any obligation to help you recover from your injury and return to work?

Physiotherapy helps Civil Nuclear Constabulary increase wellbeing and productivity

CNC aims to reduce incidents of sickness absence which resulted from musculoskeletal disorders that were caused by the nature of the its work.

NHS Trust saves £800k through staff physio provision

Medical evidence shows that early physiotherapy intervention on musculoskeletal injuries can prevent acute conditions becoming chronic and promote swifter recovery,

Ergonomics regulation is not the only reason you need a global ergonomics programme

General safety (legislation) clauses across the globe encompass the requirement for an organisation-wide ergonomics programme, says Cardinus’ Jon Abbott. Across

Study finds smoking increases the risk of back surgery

A study of construction workers in Sweden has found that smoking increases the risk of lower back pain, which in turn can lead to surgery.

2018 predictions: Smarter PPE will better protect all workers

As 2017 comes to an end, SHP asks Honeywell for its industry predictions for next year.

How the Civil Nuclear Constabulary increased wellbeing

A new physiotherapy service increased well-being and productivity and reduced sickness absence levels.

Research: health and safety risks of high heels exposed

The dangers of wearing high heels in the workplace have been outlined in an Aberdeen University study.

Tackling work-related health, and not just safety hazards

Matthew Cleave of Juice Learning debated work-related health issues at the Safety & Health Expo. 

Sectors lose 4.4m days due to illness and injuries, statistics show

The construction and education sectors are losing out on 4.4 million working days due to workplace injury and illness, acording to statitics from the Health and Safety Executive.

Don’t ignore the aches and pains – musculoskeletal conditions can hurt your business

By Jan Vickery, Head of Clinical Operations for AXA PPP healthcare Many people haven’t heard of the term ‘musculoskeletal’ but

DSE: keeping employees safe in the evolving digital landscape

Raquel Baetz says the digital evolution means that the workplace is no longer confined to a desktop computer, and explains the

The growing issue of musculoskeletal disorders

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are on the rise despite a wealth of training and information being readily accessible, argues Liz Burton,

Throwback Thursday: musculoskeletal disorders

In a Throwback Thursday from June 2008, Andrew Baird asks whether traditional approaches to musculoskeletal disorders are too limited in

Download this exclusive Barbour Director's Briefing to get ahead of the growing challenge of workplace wellbeing, how it affects our productivity, and what we can do about it, including information on:

  • Risk assessment – key risk factors for work-related stress;
  • Stress, depression, and anxiety – Signs and symptoms;
  • HR, EAP and specialist support;
  • The Law;
  • Physical wellbeing;
  • Key recommendations for employers.
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