Know the risks: Musculoskeletal disorders

If your employees work on computers or carry out manual handling and repetitive tasks for long periods of time, they could be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Here’s our guide to the risks and how you can minimise them:

What is musculoskeletal disorder?

It’s a term that refers to and covers any injury, damage or disorder to the body’s joints, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) affect the top part of the body – mainly the neck, shoulders, arms and fingers - and can include Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Cumulative Trauma Disorder and Occupational Overuse Syndrome. ULDs can be linked to the poor use of display screen equipment and prolonged use of powered hand tools. Lower Limb Disorders (LLDs) affect the lower part of the body, including the legs, hips and toes, and can be caused by repetitive activities, such as squatting, standing for long periods of time without a break and frequent jumping from height. Although ULDs and LLDs can be caused by activities outside the workplace, a high percentage are caused, or made worse, within the work environment. Other Musculoskeletal Disorders include:

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome - the result of regular use of hand-held power tools.

Vibration White Finger - the result of prolonged use of vibrating hand tools.

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome - a common condition causing pain, numbing and burning/tingling sensations as a result of the prolonged use of a keyboards, work involving manual labour and assembly packing.

What are the main symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder?

  • Painful/stiff joints.
  • Swelling
  • Dull aches
  • Recurrent pain.

How can you help to prevent musculoskeletal disorders?

1). Carry out a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment: Display screen equipment refers to any device with an alphanumeric or graphic display screen, including PCs, laptops and tablets. A DSE assessment should be carried out if you have been allocated a new workstation; new hardware or furniture has been introduced; or changes have been made to the lighting. Assessments should then be made at regular intervals – at least annually. This should be carried out by a competent advisor, who will look at the user’s working environment, job role, equipment and furniture. The advisor will also carry out a workstation assessment, setting the user up in the correct ergonomic position.

2). Rest your eyes and take regular tests: If you are a DSE user, you should take regular breaks from your screen to give your eyes a rest from the constant glare. As an employee, if you’re a habitual user of display screen equipment, you have the right to ask your employer to provide an eyesight test.

Here at MNA Group Limited, we can offer display screen equipment and workstation assessments to organisations and individuals. Telephone us on 01405 752440 or email to discuss your requirements.

Members of the MNA team have shown competence and knowledge in the delivery of their services ensuring that all requirements were easily understood.
Stuart Smith
Factory Manager,
Wren Kitchens
We feel that MNA are a valuable addition to our business team and raise our profile with current and prospective clients.
Johnny Kirk
Bowkirk Joinery Ltd
I would recommend MNA Group Limited to any business that wants a reliable and professional company to take care of their health and safety issues.
Richard Stockdale
Operations Manager,
Olam Food Ingredients Ltd
MNA Group has provided our employees with Quantitative Face Fit Testing and Harness Training, which we were more than pleased with.
Sean Kellett
General Manager,
Goole Welding Ltd
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