As MSDs are the most prevalent of all work related ill health, to successfully implement an effective intervention, you must understand the causes of MSDs.
In 2007, the ‘Fit for Work’ 9 brochure estimated the costs of MSDs to be in the region of 7 billion pounds. To understand the cause of MSDs we must look at the breakdown of what tasks an employee does regularly throughout the day.
For sedentary office jobs, sustained poor postures can over time lead to the development of MSDs, particularly in the shoulders, cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Repetitive motions can lead to injuries in all types of workplaces. From low back pain in manufacturing and construction jobs to wrist and finger disorders more commonly seen in office based jobs.
In the HSE statistical report2, they found the occupations most affected with MSDs were in construction, skilled agriculture, postal and courier services and healthcare (particularly nurses). Manual handling was cited as the leading work activity causing low back pain.