top of page

A Guide to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are one of the leading causes of absence from work and employers have a legal duty to avoid potentially hazardous manual handling tasks in the workplace.

Exposure to manual handling, including bending/twisting, kneeling, prolonged standing or sitting, walking on uneven ground, working with hands above shoulder level, or repetitive movements including the use of tools or equipment may exacerbate or cause some MSD symptoms. Signs or symptoms which may be experienced include pain, difficulty sleeping, reduced mobility, and difficulty undertaking day to day tasks.

Employers have a legal duty to undertake a risk assessment with regards to all manual handling, provide employees with training in manual handling and provide necessary equipment to reduce unnecessary manual handling where able.

In the UK

  • Approximately 60% of all work-related absence is due to MSD

  • Back pain is very common in workers between 40 – 60 years old and failure to address often minor ailments in a timely manner may lead to reduced quality of life, mobility and function, and long term illness

  • Nudging employees to engage in effective self-care, to make appropriate lifestyle changes, and liaise with their GP or physiotherapist as required can significantly reduce the frequency and duration of MSD work related absence

  • 90% of MSD are compatible with some form of work following consultation with an occupational health clinician.

MSD health surveillance assessments provide a non-statutory means of establishing whether your staff are likely to be impacted by the workplace tasks they undertake or whether any underlying health issues may impact upon their function in work. Where necessary your employee will be referred for a further consultation with one of our occupational health advisors (OHA nurses) or occupational health physicians (OHP doctors) to provide specific guidance on potential adjustments or restrictions which may enable them to undertake all or part of their role. Clinicians will focus on identifying their current level of function and whether they are likely to benefit from the provision of workplace adjustments/restrictions to improve their musculoskeletal health and wellbeing.

Where employee’s use display screen equipment (DSE) specific regulations govern an employer’s responsibilities in relation to DSE use Working safely with display screen equipment: Overview - HSE

Examples of some recommendations and adjustments include:

  • The provision of DSE equipment

  • Manual handling restrictions

  • Recommending the provision of additional short breaks or flexible working

  • Recommendation of workstation assessment

  • Redeployment

For further information about how a MSD assessment may benefit you and your employees contact us here or call on 01792 321010

48 views0 comments


bottom of page