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Worker's challenge 

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common occupational disease in the EU and North America as well as one of the most important causes for long-term sick leave. 

Did you know

The costs for such sick leave on the company and the society as a whole are high. Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD) account for large share of all occurring MSDs. Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD) accounts for 45% of all occupational diseases and cost 2,1 billion Euro annually throughout the EU? (OSHA) 

Risk factors

  • repetitive work
  • painful and/or tiring positions
  • carrying and/or moving heavy loads
  • vibrations
  • lifting and/or moving people
  • prolonged standing or walking

At EU level, repetitive work is the most common risk factor, approx. 74% of workers in the EU are exposed to repetitive hand or arm movements at least 25% of their working hours. The situation in North America is very similar.  It is however common that workers are exposed to more than one risk factor. Additionally, exposure to above risk factors are increasing in younger working populations making it of utmost importance to implement corrective actions to create a sustainable workplace.

What can be done to prevent strain injuries?

Assessment of the hazards and risks in the workplace is paramount. Employers are required to evaluate risks to safety and health within their workplaces and then to improve the standards of safety and health for workers and others who may be at risk of harm = risk assessment. In addition to that workers at risk should be supported in their daily work wherever possible. New innovative solutions like exoskeletons or soft robotics provide endless possibilities.

MSD Definition:

Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.).

WRULD Definition:

Work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs) are the commonest occupational diseases. They affect the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists and fingers, causing pain, discomfort, numbness and tingling sensations. Other symptoms, which can be exacerbated by cold or the use of vibrating tools, include swelling in the joints, decreased mobility or grip strength, and a change in skin color of the hands or fingers. WRULDs usually develop gradually, the cumulative effect of many, apparently moderate applications of force, repeated over an extended period.