Musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common occupational illness in Great Britain. They include a range of problems such as back pain, upper limb disorders, and other injuries affecting muscles, joints and tendons. In addition to the associated pain and suffering, the consequences of an MSD injury in the workplace are often very costly with potential loss of production, the loss of skilled staff, and sometimes claims for compensation from those who have been injured. There are also legal requirements under health and safety law that relate to manual handling so it is important that employers, employees and the self-employed know what they need to do.
For example, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require employers to avoid hazardous manual handling, assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided, and reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable. Training for workers is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 2002. The risk of sustaining an MSD at work can be greatly reduced if adequate and suitable training is provided in conjunction with other risk reduction methods.