Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and manual handling

A health and safety briefing provided by the IET.

Loads don’t need to be “heavy” or “awkward” to cause the handler lasting health problems. Picking up, carrying, pushing, pulling or putting down quite small items can result in injury.  Considering the large number of such activities within any organisation, it is of no surprise that poor manual handling is a big problem.

It is estimated that in 2007/08 nearly 539,000 people in Great Britain suffered from a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) mainly affecting the upper limbs or neck that was caused, or made worse, by their current or past work. Many working days are lost across a wide range of occupations.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common occupational illness in Great Britain, affecting 1.0 million people a year, costing an estimated £5.7 billion. They include problems such as low back pain, joint injuries and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts.