MSDs are preventable and manageable. Taking an integrated approach — based on the principles of the OSH Framework Directive — and promoting a prevention culture involving both employers and workers are key to tackling the issue.
- Workplace risk assessment: this is fundamental for successful prevention and should involve preparation, assessment and the implementation of preventive and protective measures. The risk assessment process should be regularly reviewed and updated.
- A combination of preventive measures to eliminate/control risks: this should be the top priority for any workplace. As MSDs are caused by multiple factors, a combined approach is best, for instance involving actions targeting the workplace (e.g. ergonomics), work organisation (e.g. allowing breaks), psychosocial factors (e.g. giving workers control over work pace) and workers (e.g. providing training on good postures).
- Encourage worker participation: workers should be involved in identifying MSD risks and preventive solutions to help companies develop comprehensive policies on MSD management. EU-OSHA’s conversation starters for workplace discussions about MSDs can be used to facilitate group discussions in the workplace or during training.
As part of the Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load campaign, we have created a database of practical tools, guidance materials and good practice examples to help encourage worker participation and support workplaces in the management of MSDs. Other useful campaign materials and publications are available in the Tools and publications section.