Musculoskeletal problems and Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Problems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Occupational health services, and effective health and safety training, are crucial in any organization to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). Jobs that require the worker to hold the same working posture or position for prolonged periods, to apply extreme force, to engage in heavy lifting, and to regularly experience physical fatigue elicit important physical work risk factors for MSDs in most professions. This problem is a global threat to healthy ageing, but also WRMSDs cost the British National Health Service (NHS) billions of pounds each year. To mitigate injuries and prevent them from happening altogether, it is crucial that organizations prioritize MSD prevention and risk assessment and embed occupational health into their very philosophy and culture. Awareness should be raised about not just the physical risks, but also psychosocial risks of MSDs, and all of this should be taking place at a time when the working population is ageing. This chapter covers the scale of the problem of WRMSDs and the latest research undertaken in a number of specific work environments that experience high levels of WRMSDs, such as health and social care, construction work, and sedentary occupations. Other objectives are to bring to light the latest developments in ergonomic and human factors research that use biomechanical assessments and movement sensor equipment within laboratories and in situ, to identify important thresholds, and to limit injury during physically demanding activities. At various junctions, it speaks to issues around ageing, concluding by reviewing the important occupational health management interventions that may help.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences.
Publication statusPublished online - 12 Dec 2021

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