A new agenda for musculoskeletal disorders

Matthew Trigg MIOSH, ergonomist with JDA Associates, proposed a new agenda
for managing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in his presentation "Get a
grip – managing the musculoskeletal threat" at the IOSH 2001 Conference.

The new model, which builds on the existing legal framework of avoidance,
assessment, reduction and monitoring, has at its core an acceptance that MSDs
cannot be completely eradicated from work and nor should they need to be.

Many MSDs have a real or suspected link to non-work factors so how can an
employer avoid bearing the cost of repairing damage that is not its fault? A
prudent organisation would try to prevent an employee’s MSD from developing
into a chronic injury, thereby protecting profits, by adopting a more
aggressive approach to MSD identification and treatment than might, at first,
seem reasonable.

Trigg suggested that the best approach would be to treat all MSDs as
potentially work-related and being the organisation’s problem. To help achieve
this he proposed a new agenda incorporating the following:

– A proactive risk assessment remains critical for prevention

– Actively soliciting reports of MSDs prevents nasty surprises, allows rapid
treatment and helps target effort for future prevention

– Aggressive management of reported injuries to reduce incidences of
chronicity and maintain the services of injured staff

– A written policy on MSDs that states definition and types, the importance
of early reporting, reporting procedure and broad expectation of assessment
treatment and rehabilitation

If you would like any further information on this approach, please contact
Matthew Trigg at: matthew@trigg-ergonomics.fsnet.co.uk

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