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Work-related musculoskeletal disorders - the facts

Posted on May 02, 2019


In a recent study, manual handling, awkward or tiring positions and keyboard work or repetitive action including the use of power tools are estimated to be the main causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders based on 2009/10-2011/12 LFS data.

Key stats:

  • 469,000 workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (new or longstanding) in 2017/18

  • 156,000 workers suffering from a new case of work-related musculoskeletal disorder in 2017/18

  • 6.6 million working days lost due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2017/18

Other stats:

Musculoskeletal disorders by affected area, 2017/18:

  • 18% Lower limbs (86,000)
  • 40% Back (186,000)
  • 42% Upper limbs or neck (197,000)

Top 5 industries with higher than average rates of musculoskeletal disorders, averaged 2015/16–2017/18:

  1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  2. Construction
  3. Transportation and storage
  4. Public admin and defence
  5. Human health and social work

Estimates of work-related musculoskeletal disorders are based on self-reports from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Source: HSE

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