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MSDs are preventable and the HSE has published a range of useful publications of tools that will help health and safety representatives work with their employer to reduce the levels of MSDs in their workplace.

For basic information on preventing MSDs go to

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most commonly reported cause of occupational ill-health in Great Britain with over half a million workers suffering from a work-related MSD at any one time.

MSDs are prevalent in all sectors but agriculture, logistics and transport, construction and health and social care have significantly higher than average rates.

The 2016 TUC survey of safety reps showed that it was also one of the problems most encountered by health and safety reps with 32 per cent of those responding saying that that back strains were a major concern for members and 26 per cent saying that repetitive strain injuries were a major concern.


There are three MSD toolkits that can be used by both health and safety reps and managers to help highlight high-risk tasks. These are:


The main regulations and related guidance are also on the HSE site.

These are the Manual Handling Operations 1992 and the guidance on the regulations and the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) regulations and guidance.


There are a range of guides published by the HSE. Many of them are written for employers to tell them how to comply with the law, but they are equally of use to health and safety reps.

These include:

The HSE material will ensure that you know what your employer must do to obey the law. Some sectors have their own guidance that is published jointly between the employers and unions.

The HSE also has a “ Go Home Healthy ” campaign website which includes material on MSDs. To keep up to date with developments in health and safety you can subscribe to HSE eBulletins , or to the TUC Risks newsletter .

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