A campaign aiming to encourage employers to help prevent and manage the most common work-related health problem – musculoskeletal disorders – has been launched across Europe.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) hopes to raise awareness of MSDs and their impact on individuals, employers and society through its “Lighten the Load” campaign.
It claimed that three in every five workers have an MSD issue, with the most common conditions including backache and pains in the upper limbs.
Risks include prolonged sitting, lifting or moving people or heavy loads, time pressure and working in tiring or painful positions.
The campaign has garnered support from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (Iosh) and software company SAP, which had produced a toolkit for its employees that provides information and good practice on managing and reducing the risk of developing MSDs.
Alan Stevens, head of strategic engagement at Iosh, said: “Iosh works with EU-OSHA on a variety of projects to highlight the importance of good OSH (occupational safety and health) management. So, we’re delighted to add our support to Lighten the Load, which focuses on one of our priority areas and aligns with our own activity.
“MSDs affect workers everywhere across the course of their working lives, in all sectors and sizes of organisation. However, they are often preventable. Well-designed work, in which risks are properly managed, can both prevent the development of these conditions as well as support employees with non-work-related MSDs.”
The campaign website says: “Despite efforts to prevent them, MSDs remain at the top of the list of work-related health problems in Europe, and often occur in combination with other health problems. This inevitably reduces individuals’ quality of life and capacity to work, damaging businesses and economies.
“Absence from work due to MSDs accounts for a high proportion of working days lost in the EU. Workers with MSDs also have longer periods of absence on average than those without health problems.”