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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can affect the body's musculoskeletal system which includes disorders of: bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Most work-related MSDs develop over time and are caused either by the work itself or by the employees' working environment. They can also result from fractures sustained in an accident. Typically, MSDs affect the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs; less often they affect the lower limbs.
Health problems range from discomfort, minor aches and pains, to more serious medical conditions requiring time off work and even medical treatment. In more chronic cases, treatment and recovery are often unsatisfactory - the result could be permanent disability and loss of employment.
Many problems can be prevented or greatly reduced by complying with existing safety and health law and following guidance on good practice. Unfortunately, MSDs are an increasing problem. For the employee, they cause personal suffering and loss of income; for the employer, they reduce business efficiency; and for government, they increase social security costs.
MSDs are a priority for the EU in its Community strategy. Reducing the musculoskeletal load of work is part of the 'Lisbon objective', which aims to create 'quality jobs' by:
- enabling workers to stay in employment; and
- ensuring that work and workplaces are suitable for a diverse population.
- Bone disorders
- Joint disorders
- Movement disorders
- Muscular disorders
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome
- Musculoskeletal disorders Single Entry Point European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA)
- Good Practices to prevent Musculoskeletal disorders European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA)
- Musculoskeletal disorders homepage Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- Hazards and risks associated with manual handling of loads in the workplace European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA)
Musculoskeletal disorders: Arthropathies (M00–M19, 711–719)
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