As part of its 15th Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards competition, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) recognises 8 winning and 8 commended examples that successfully tackle musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Companies and organisations from all over Europe are demonstrating the many benefits of a safer and healthier workplace when everyone gets involved.
Active participation is where the workers who do the jobs are involved in both identifying the MSD risk factors and proposing preventive measures. William Cockburn, EU-OSHA Interim Director
One of the main highlights of EU-OSHA’s Europe-wide Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load campaign, the awards acknowledge small and large companies and organisations from various industries in Europe that actively prevent and manage MSDs through effective occupational safety and health (OSH) management approaches.
EU-OSHA Interim Director William Cockburn commented on the need to involve workers in MSD risk assessment and prevention: ‘Active participation is where the workers who do the jobs are involved in both identifying the MSD risk factors and proposing preventive measures. Workers have detailed knowledge of and experience in how the job is done and how it affects them. They should be involved in all stages of MSD risk prevention.’
The following eight organisations were awarded:
- Universitätsklinikum AKH Wien, the largest hospital in Austria, successfully involved workers in developing measures to prevent MSDs;
- Swissport Cyprus Ltd tested, further developed and purchased a state-of-the-art suit (wearable exoskeleton) to better manage manual handling at Larnaka and Paphos International Airports;
- German multinational software corporation SAP SE developed a comprehensive knowledge database to promote ergonomics and prevent MSDs;
- F&F Ltd, a family-run sweets factory in Hungary, planned and designed technical modifications for its production line based on ergonomic principles to improve OSH conditions and to reduce MSDs;
- Servizi Italia Spa, a provider of laundry and sterilisation services to the healthcare sector, introduced innovative operating methods and instrumental changes in its plants to prevent MSDs while improving awareness of and knowledge about ergonomic risks;
- the Latvian metalworking company SIA Silkeborg Spaantagning Baltic created a safe and ergonomic workplace with the help of employees by using practical solutions to handling and lifting heavy loads;
- UAB Vonin Lithuania is a professional fishing equipment manufacturer that minimised operators’ shoulder sprain during their shifts after carrying out company-wide ergonomics training;
- the Slovenian insurance company Zavarovalnica Triglav, d. d. developed a strategic approach to OSH so that employees have the best physical and mental health possible.
A further eight organisations were commended: the building materials company Rohrdorfer Transportbeton GmbH from Austria; GZA Ziekenhuizen hospitals from Belgium; Suomen Nestlé Oy, a Finnish children’s food factory; Siun sote-Municipal authority social and health services for North Karelia from Finland; the Italian yarn company Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia SpA; the Dutch cleaning services company Hago Next; Verdonk Broccoli, a vegetable growing company from the Netherlands; and the Spanish meat company Elaborados Julián Mairal sl.
The competition was a two-stage process. Up to two entries per country were first judged at national level by EU-OSHA´s network of focal points. In all, 38 organisations from 22 countries (EU, EFTA-EEA, Western Balkans, Turkey) were shortlisted. A pan-European jury then chose the overall winners and commended examples.
The jury looked for examples that demonstrated a holistic approach to OSH management as a result of effective participation and involvement. Selection criteria included whether both employers and employees were committed to working together to prevent MSDs and if the approach showed real and demonstrable improvements in safety and health with respect to work-related MSDs. In addition, the selected interventions needed to be sustainable in the long term and transferable to other workplaces and in different sectors across Europe. They also had to meet or exceed legislative requirements of the EU Member State where they were implemented.
Trophies for the awarded organisations and certificates for the commended organisations will be given out in a special ceremony at the Healthy Workplaces Summit in Bilbao, Spain, in November 2022. All examples will be published as case studies and in a booklet in the coming months.
See the list of all winners, commended and shortlisted examples
See more MSD-related case studies