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All Publication items on Musculoskeletal Disorders

Summary - New risks and trends in the safety and health of women at work (Mar 06, 2014)

In 2009 and 2010, the Agency commissioned an update to its previous research on gender issues at work , which found that inequality both inside and outside the workplace can have an effect on the health and safety of women at work. This summary provides a policy perspective and is meant to contribute to the task outlined by the European strategy on health and safety at work for EU-OSHA’s European Risk Observatory, “examining the specific challenges in terms of health and safety posed by the more extensive integration of women in the labour market”. It provides a statistical overview of the trends in employment and working conditions, hazard exposure and work-related accidents and health problems for women at work. It explores selected issues (combined exposures, occupational cancer, access to rehabilitation, women and informal work, and “emerging” female professions such as home care and domestic work). The research highlights the type of work carried out by women, issues faced by younger and older women, the growth of the service sector, violence and harassment, and increasingly diversified working time patterns as major risk factors.

New risks and trends in the safety and health of women at work (Dec 20, 2013)

This report presents an update to the Agency´s previous research on gender issues at work, which found that inequality both inside and outside the workplace can have an effect on the health and safety of women at work. It provides a policy perspective and is meant to contribute to the task outlined by the European strategy on health and safety at work for EU-OSHA’s European Risk Observatory, “examining the specific challenges in terms of health and safety posed by the more extensive integration of women in the labour market”. It provides a statistical overview of the trends in employment and working conditions, hazard exposure and work-related accidents and health problems for women at work. It explores selected issues (combined exposures, occupational cancer, access to rehabilitation, women and informal work, and “emerging” female professions such as home care and domestic work). The research highlights the type of work carried out by women, issues faced by younger and older women, the growth of the service sector, violence and harassment, and increasingly diversified working time patterns as major risk factors.

Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector (Dec 12, 2013)

The wind energy sector is growing quickly as a result of the EU 2020 Strategy objectives for climate and energy policy. However, it brings with it many occupational safety and health (OSH) challenges as many aspects of onshore and offshore wind turbines are unique, and so are the working environments in which they are found. Being a relatively young industry, specific issues such as skills shortages and a lack of consistent procedures and standards also have an impact on OSH. This report introduces the wind energy sector and examines how its specific issues impact on OSH. It looks at the particular risks faced by workers during the various stages of the wind turbine life cycle, both onshore and offshore, and outlines the challenges ahead for the industry.

E-fact 76: Wellbeing at work: creating a positive work environment (Aug 19, 2013)

This publication summarises the findings from the 'Wellbeing at work: creating a positive work environment' report, which is based on responses to a questionnaire distributed to organisations in 30 countries, and a survey of the literature. Wellbeing at work is valuable for quality of life as well as economic development. Its importance is increasingly recognised across Europe but there is no agreed definition or standard approach. The summary document outlines the concept of wellbeing at work within the EU, details specific actions required to move the concept forward and cites examples of good practice in organisations within Europe that are addressing wellbeing at work.

Well-being at work: creating a positive work environment (Jul 10, 2013)

This report is based on responses to a questionnaire distributed to organisations in 30 countries, and a survey of the literature. Wellbeing at work is valuable for quality of life as well as economic development. Its importance is increasingly recognised across Europe but there is no agreed definition or standard approach. The summary document outlines the concept of wellbeing at work within the EU, details specific actions required to move the concept forward and cites examples of good practice in organisations within Europe that are addressing wellbeing at work.

E-fact 71: Hazard identification checklist: Occupational safety and health issues associated with green building (May 31, 2013)

This checklist accompanies the e-fact on the same topic and aims to help identify the potential hazards to workers’ safety and health associated with the planning and construction of green buildings, their maintenance, renovation (retrofitting), demolition, and on-site waste collection. It also gives examples of preventive measures to address these hazards. Some of these OSH hazards are new compared with traditional construction sites and are associated with new green materials, technologies or design. Other hazards are well-known to the construction sector but they arise in new situations or combinations associated with green buildings and therefore demand particular consideration.

E-fact 70: Occupational safety and health issues associated with green building (May 31, 2013)

This e-fact provides information on the work-related risk factors and the occupational safety and health (OSH) issues associated the planning and construction of green buildings, their maintenance, renovation (retrofitting), demolition, on-site waste collection. Some of these OSH risks are new compared with traditional construction sites and are associated with new green materials, technologies or design. Other risks are well-known to the construction sector but they arise in new situations or combinations associated with green buildings and therefore demand particular consideration.

E-fact 69: Hazard identification checklist: OSH risks associated with small-scale solar energy applications (May 31, 2013)

Small-scale and domestic solar energy installations are widely used but only scant attention has been given to the associated occupational safety and health (OSH) aspects so far. Many workers’ groups in various types of workplaces and sectors are involved with such systems along their life cycle. This checklist accompanies the e-fact on the same topic and aims to help identify the potential hazards to workers’ safety and health from small-scale and domestic solar energy systems throughout their life cycle, from manufacturing, installation and maintenance to decommissioning and recycling. It also gives examples of preventive measures to address these hazards.

E-fact 68: OSH and small-scale solar energy applications (May 31, 2013)

Small-scale and domestic solar energy installations are widely used but only scant attention has been given to the associated occupational safety and health (OSH) aspects so far. From their manufacturing, transport, installation and maintenance to decommissioning and recycling, many workers’ groups in various types of workplaces and sectors are involved with such systems. This e-fact provides information on the work-related risk factors and OSH issues associated with domestic and small-scale solar energy installations across their life cycle.

Summary - Green jobs and occupational safety and health: Foresight on new and emerging risks associated with new technologies by 2020 (Apr 08, 2013)

In order to meet its environmental targets, the EU is set for a rapid growth of the green economy. It is therefore important to anticipate new and emerging risks to occupational safety and health (OSH) in green jobs in order to ensure that these jobs are not only good for the environment but also for workers’ safety and health. This summary presents a foresight study that has identified possible future scenarios for OSH in green jobs, given developments in green technologies, under different economic and social conditions. A full report with more details on the methodology and findings is also available.

Green jobs and occupational safety and health: Foresight on new and emerging risks associated with new technologies by 2020 (Apr 08, 2013)

In order to meet its environmental targets, the EU is set for a rapid growth of the green economy. It is therefore important to anticipate new and emerging risks to occupational safety and health (OSH) in green jobs in order to ensure that these jobs are not only good for the environment but also for workers’ safety and health. This report presents a foresight study that has identified possible future scenarios for OSH in green jobs, given developments in green technologies, under different economic and social conditions. A summary report is also available.

Emergency services: occupational safety and health risks (Oct 01, 2011)

The report shows that emergency workers have a high risk of suffering fatal accidents, injuries and other occupational diseases. Past disasters demonstrate that both communities and companies are often not fully prepared for major accidents and catastrophes. Better protection for emergency workers against occupational hazards should be given high priority, as current environmental, economic, and political developments suggest an increase in the severity and frequency of future disasters.

OSH in figures: Occupational safety and health in the transport sector — an overview (Mar 28, 2011)

The transport sector is one of the growing sectors in the European economy and highly affected by change: a growing proportion of women, migrant and part-time workers, rapid ageing of the workforce and many technological innovations. Transport workers are exposed to multiple physical risks, suffer violence, and many have unusual working times and repetitive and monotonous work. The consequences are high accident rates, musculoskeletal disorders, stress and fatigue. This report reviews the OSH risks of a wide variety of transport occupations, by analysing statistics and studies, and through selected case examples of prevention. The report has a broad scope: it covers all transport subsectors (rail, water, air and road) and is intended for both those working in the sector and policymakers.

OSH in figures: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the EU - Facts and figures (May 04, 2010)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) remain the most common occupational disease in the European Union and workers in all sectors and occupations can be affected. Recent figures, for example from Austria, Germany or France, also demonstrate an increasing impact of musculoskeletal disorders on costs. This latest report, following on from the Agency’s previous research, aims to give an updated overview of the current European situation as regards musculoskeletal disorders, the trends over the years since the first campaign in 2000, and a detailed insight into the causes and circumstances behind MSDs. The report highlights the main issues and aims to provide a well-founded evidence base, helping policy makers, actors at enterprise and sector level, as well as researchers and those who record, prevent and compensate occupational diseases in the European Union to set the agenda for the next years.

Factsheet 89 - Safe maintenance – For employers Safe workers – Save money (Feb 01, 2010)

Maintenance is carried out in every workplace and in all industry sectors. Considering the wide range of hazards and risks associated with maintenance, it may be necessary to include it in the comprehensive management system of the company. Allocating sufficient time and resources, ensuring training and competence of the maintenance staff, putting in place safe systems of work based on an appropriate risk assessment, effective communication between production and maintenance staff are key issues.

The occupational safety and health of cleaning workers (Oct 20, 2009)

This report provides an overview of the most important issues related to occupational safety and health (OSH) for cleaning workers in terms of working conditions, risks and prevalence of exposures and health outcomes, and identifies information gaps and challenges. Cleaning includes a broad range of activities performed in different work environments across all sectors. The risks to which cleaners are exposed therefore depend on the tasks they perform and the premises they work in. As most of the cleaning work is performed as contract cleaning, employers sometimes face difficulties in controlling the OSH conditions in the "host companies" where their staff work. Accessing information on occupational accidents and diseases remains challenging as cleaning workers are spread over different sectors and it is therefore difficult to put monitoring systems in place. In addition, a significant part of the cleaning workforce is undeclared, especially in private households, which also complicates data collection. Studies on work-related diseases indicate that MSDs, respiratory diseases, including asthma, skin diseases and mental ill health are the most common work-related health effects found in cleaners, and suggest a higher prevalence of health problems in cleaning workers than in other sectors.

The human-machine interface as an emerging risk (Oct 04, 2009)

Interaction with – and dependence on – technology is increasing in almost all fields of work. Given that a poor human-machine interface can have serious consequences in terms of occupational accidents and diseases, including stress, its proper inclusion in design equipment and workplace is of utmost importance. Based on a literature survey and a small expert survey, this report explores how the human-machine interface influences occupational risks, describing who is exposed, and giving some examples of what can be done to reduce the risk.

Preventing risks to young workers: policy, programmes and workplace practices (Oct 01, 2009)

Young workers (15–24 years) are a very vulnerable group when it comes to occupational safety and health (OSH). However, the majority of OSH risks are preventable — whether they involve young or older workers — by applying the principles of risk assessment and putting in place the necessary preventive measures. To support information exchange on best practice, the agency has produced a report about how the occupational safety and health of young workers can be managed at policy and practice level. The report includes a variety of case studies and also identifies some success factors for prevention.

OSH in figures: stress at work — facts and figures (Sep 01, 2009)

Stress at work is common throughout Europe. In surveys carried out every five years by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, respondents name it as the second most common threat posed by the working environment. Only musculoskeletal problems are seen as more likely to damage workers’ health. According to the fourth European Survey of Working Conditions, carried out in 2005 in all Member States, stress was experienced by an average 22% of working Europeans. In 2002, the annual economic cost of work-related stress in the EU15 was estimated at EUR 20,000 million.

Report - Workplace exposure to vibration in Europe: an expert review (Dec 19, 2008)

One in three European workers is exposed to vibrations at work and for some sectors, such as construction at 63%, this figure is much higher. Although vibration is a long-standing and well-known risk, its importance has increased since the application of the vibration directive (2002/44/EC), which came into force on 6th July 2005. Enterprises, regulators and legislators face new challenges; measurement is complicated and risk assessment and reduction are not simple. This report brings together specialists from eight leading European institutes to produce an overview of the challenges facing the occupational safety and health community as regards management of occupational vibration risks. The situation in six Member States – Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland, France and Poland – is examined, and research information is presented covering all Member States.

E-fact 45 - Checklist for preventing bad working postures (Nov 04, 2008)

A good posture is one that is comfortable and in which the joints are naturally aligned — the neutral body posture. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system, and therefore reduces the risk of workers developing MSDs. This checklist includes questions on working postures of the back and neck, arms and hands, legs during sitting and standing tasks. It also gives examples of the type of action at a technical, organisational and individual level that can be put in place to prevent or reduce the risks caused by awkward postures.

E-fact 44 - Checklist for the prevention of manual handling risks (Nov 04, 2008)

Manual handling of loads (MHL) includes lifting, holding, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying and moving a load. It is one of the major causes of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This checklist is aimed at helping to carry out a risk assessment and it includes questions related to all aspects of manual handling and offers examples of preventive measures that can help to improve handling and therefore reduce risks.

E-fact 43 - Checklist for preventing WRULDs (Nov 04, 2008)

Work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs) are impairments of bodily structures such as to a tendon, nerve, muscle, joint, bursa or the localised blood circulation system. Principally, they are caused by the performance of work and by the effects of the immediate environment where that work is carried out. This checklist helps to identify the particular factors that can contribute to workers developing WRULDs. Furthermore, it gives examples about the practical steps that can be taken to prevent or reduce the risks of workers sustaining WRULDs.

E-fact 42 - Checklist for prevention of lower limb disorders (Nov 04, 2008)

Work-related lower limb disorders (LLDs) are impairments of bodily structures such as a tendon, muscle, nerve, joint and bursa caused or aggravated primarily by the performance of work and by the effects of the immediate environment where the work is carried out. They can affect the lower extremities, mainly hip, knee and feet.This checklist concerns hazards for injury or development of disorders to the lower limb and is targeted at people engaged in workplace hazard identification. In addition, this checklist offers examples of preventive measures that can help to reduce LLDs risks.

E-fact 39 - Cleaners and musculoskeletal disorders (Oct 17, 2008)

This E-Fact offers important information about about work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Numerous investigations have shown that cleaners are at risk of developing MSDs of the back, neck, shoulders, elbows, hands and lower limbs as a result of their work. The E-Fact identifies the risk factors that cleaners face in the course of their work and provides advice on the practical steps that can be taken to prevent or reduce these risks.

E-fact 38 - Work equipment, tools and cleaners (Oct 17, 2008)

This E-Fact examines how and why cleaners are injured using their equipment. Musculoskeletal disorders are a significant problem, with studies showing that they are the biggest cause of time off work among cleaners. The E-Fact explains the steps of the risk assessment process, including identifying hazards and evaluating risks. It also includes two case studies on preventing harm and a checklist of the most common hazards associated with the use of cleaning equipment.

E-fact 34 - Risk assessment for Hairdressers (Sep 23, 2008)

Following a brief introduction to the hairdressing sector and occupational health and safety in the sector, this article includes sections on ‘How to do a Risk Assessment’ and ‘How to use a Checklist’. A checklist is then presented to help identify the hazards in the sector. An extensive list of ‘proposed solutions and examples of preventive measures’ is then considered for different questions posed in the general checklist. A case study is then presented, to show the importance of identifying hazards and taking the appropriate preventive measures. Finally, sources of further information are presented at the end of the article.

E-fact 30 - Occupational safety and health in the textiles sector (Apr 02, 2008)

The textiles industry employs more than 2 million people in Europe, the majority of whom are women. Significant hazards include manual handling, using machinery, being struck by an object, contact with chemical agents, noise and slips and trips. The resulting health problems include musculoskeletal disorders, hearing damage and occupational asthma and respiratory irritation. This E-fact outlines the hazards and risks and the general approach on managing occupational safety and health in the sector.

E-fact 29 - Occupational safety and health in Europe's forestry industry (Apr 01, 2008)

Forests and other wooded land cover about 160 million hectares, some 35% of the European Union’s land area. As well as wood, forests provide cork, Christmas trees, resins, pine nuts, medicinal plants, mushrooms and berries. They are a valuable resource, but forests are a dangerous place to work: the incidence of fatal or major injuries is higher than in many other sectors, with forest workers using chainsaws to fell trees being at particular risk. Heavy physical workloads, noise, vibration and exposure to biological hazards and chemicals also put forest workers at risk. This E-Fact outlines the dangers of working in forestry and provides information on prevention.

Factsheet 79 - Protecting workers in hotels, restaurants and catering (Feb 15, 2008)

The growing hotel, restaurant and catering sector (HORECA) employs more than 7.8 million, mostly young and low skilled people in the European Union. Typically, employees work long, irregular hours doing physically demanding work. The risks to workers’ safety and health are many and varied, resulting from prolonged standing, carrying and lifting, exposure to high noise levels and working in too hot or cold environments. Workers also suffer cuts and burns, trips, slips and falls, and come into contact with dangerous substances. The work can be monotonous, stressful and draining. Nevertheless, employers and employees can work together to improve workplace safety and health. The prevention report on the HORECA sector highlights key risk prevention measures.

Report - Prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in practice (Feb 15, 2008)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common work-related health problem in Europe, affecting millions of workers. The Lighten the Load campaign featured the Good Practice Awards, which recognise organisations that have made outstanding and innovative contributions to tackling MSDs. The awards promote and encourage practical solutions in workplaces and share this good practice around Europe. This publication contains the summaries of 20 working examples of how companies and organisations from across the EU have taken action against MSDs.

Report - Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: prevention report (Feb 08, 2008)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common work-related problem in Europe - 25 % of the EU-27 workers report suffering from backache and 23 % complain about muscular pains. First, there are preventive steps that have to be taken. But for workers who already have MSDs, the challenge is to maintain their employability, keep them working and, if necessary, reintegrate them into the workplace. The aim of this report is to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions at the workplace and to provide practical examples with respect to successful prevention of MSDs. It focuses mainly on the developments that have taken place since the previous European MSDs Campaign in 2000.

Factsheet 78 - Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: prevention report. A summary. (Feb 08, 2008)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common work-related problem in Europe - 25 % of the EU-27 workers report suffering from backache and 23 % complain about muscular pains. First, there are preventive steps that have to be taken. But for workers who already have MSDs, the challenge is to maintain their employability, keep them working and, if necessary, reintegrate them into the workplace. This fact sheet highlights the key findings of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work's prevention report, which focuses on the prevention of MSDs and the development and progress made in this area since the previous MSDs campaign in 2000. The report consists of two parts: a state-of-the-art review of the research literature with respect to work-related interventions preventing MSDs risks; and 15 case studies demonstrating how the problems have been solved at the workplace level.

E-fact 28 - Patient handling techniques to prevent MSDs in health care (Jan 11, 2008)

MSDs are a serious problem among hospital personnel, and in particular the nursing staff. Of primary concern are back injuries and shoulder strains, which can both, be severely debilitating. The nursing profession has been shown to be one of the most at risk occupation for low back pain . The primary cause for MSDs is patient handling tasks such as lifting, transferring, and repositioning of patients. This article provides recommendations and examples for nursing staff to help reducing the number and severity of MSDs due to patient handling.

E-fact 24 - Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in HORECA (Jan 11, 2008)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are widespread in the hotel, restaurant and catering sector (HORECA). MSDs are work-related impairments of bodily structures such as muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves. This E-Fact explains why HORECA workers are at risk of developing MSDs. Their jobs, for example, often involve prolonged standing and working in awkward postures. Much of their work is physically demanding, stressful and involves long working hours. Employers need to adapt prevention and intervention strategies to the HORECA sector; workers, who know their work better than anybody, also have an important role to play. A step-by-step guide to risk assessment is explained, as are the European directives relevant to MSDs.

E-fact 22 - Safety and health risks in HORECA (Jan 11, 2008)

This E-Fact offers an overview of the safety and health risks in the growing hotel, restaurant and catering sector (HORECA). Risk factors include the tough physical workload, hazardous substances, noise, and air temperature and quality. Young workers are most affected by injuries, while older workers suffer the highest number of fatalities. Common injuries include slips, trips and falls, injuries resulting from carrying or handling loads, cuts and burns. A couple of case studies illustrate the kind of accidents that can occur. Improving working conditions, especially in the sector’s huge number of small businesses, remains a big challenge.

Report - OSH in figures: Young workers - Facts and figures (Dec 10, 2007)

This publication seeks to review in depth what risks young workers are exposed to at work and what the consequences of these exposures are, in both the short term and the long term for young workers. This is done not only by analysing statistics and studies but also through selected case studies of prevention. By bringing this wealth of information together, the Agency hopes to contribute to better protection of young people as they embark on their working life and therefore, to their improved health throughout it.

Literature Study on Migrant Workers (Nov 20, 2007)

Increasing mobility of workers is one of the growing demographic changes worldwide and it is likely that migration will increase in the next decade. The aim of the report is to provide an overview of the most important issues relating to the occupational safety and health (OSH) of migrant workers.

E-fact 19 - Prevention of vibration risks in the construction sector (Nov 19, 2007)

Vibration is a serious health risk for workers in the contruction sector. The two main types are hand-arm and whole-body vibration. The former can cause neurological and motor disorders in the hands and fingers, as well as circulatory disorders in the fingers and disorders of the musculoskeletal system; the latter can lead to lower back pain, and disorders of the sensory functions or fine-motor co-ordination. Using the right equipment and making changes to the workplace, however, can reduce vibration considerably and safeguard the health of workers. This E-Fact also includes details of the legislation covering vibration in the workplace.

Report - Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: Back to work (Oct 15, 2007)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common work-related health problem in Europe. Tackling MSDs means taking action in the workplace. First, there are preventative steps that have to be taken. But for workers who already have MSDs, the challenge is to maintain their employability, keep them working and, if necessary, reintegrate them into the workplace. This is the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s ’Back to Work’ report, which focuses on the retention, reintegration and rehabilitation of workers with MSDs. It comes in two parts: a literature review on the effectiveness of work-related interventions, and an overview of policy initiatives in Europe and at the international level.

Factsheet 75 - Work – related musculoskeletal disorders: Back to work (Sep 06, 2007)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common work-related health problem in Europe. Tackling MSDs means taking action in the workplace. First, there are preventative steps that have to be taken. But for workers who already have MSDs, the challenge is to maintain their employability, keep them working and, if necessary, reintegrate them into the workplace. This fact sheet highlights the key findings of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s ’Back to Work’ report, which focuses on the retention, reintegration and rehabilitation of workers with MSDs. It comes in two parts: a literature review on the effectiveness of work-related interventions, and an overview of policy initiatives in Europe and at the international level.

Magazine 10 - Lighten the Load. (Aug 16, 2007)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common of all reported work-related health problems in the European Union. Manual load handling, working in prolonged and/or awkward postures and repetitive movements are all risk factors for MSDs, as are non-biomechanical factors such as stress. This Magazine includes articles from the Member States, stakeholders and MSDs experts on various MSDs related issues - such as case studies, workplace interventions, campaigns, statistics, surveys and opinion articles.

Factsheet 73 - Hazards and risks associated with manual handling of loads in the workplace (Jul 03, 2007)

Manual handling of loads (MHL) is any of the following activities carried out by one or more workers: lifting, holding, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load. The load can be animate (a person or animal) or inanimate (an object). Though decreasing lately, the rate of workers in the EU-25 that report carrying or moving heavy loads, is still high (34.5 %), reaching 38.0 % in the EU-10.

Factsheet 72 - Work-related neck and upper limb disorders (Jul 02, 2007)

Almost two thirds of EU workers report being exposed to repetitive hand and arm movements, and a quarter to vibrations from tools - significant risk factors for work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs). Many workers, in a wide range of jobs, develop WRULDs and they are the most common form of occupational disease in Europe, accounting for over 45 % of all occupational diseases.

Factsheet 71 - Introduction to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (Jul 01, 2007)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common workrelated problem in Europe. Almost 24 % of the EU-25 workers report suffering from backache and 22 % complain about muscular pains. Both conditions are more prevalent in the new Member States, 39 % and 36 % respectively.

Factsheet 70 - Young Workers – Facts and figures. Exposure to risks and health effects (Jun 20, 2007)

This factsheet summarises a risk observatory report on young workers. This publication aims to provide a review of the hazards young workers are exposed to at work and what the consequences of this exposure are both in the short term and in the long term. It does this by analysing statistics and studies, and through selected case studies of prevention. Many of the sectors and occupations young people are employed in are characterised by high accident risks and exposure to many workplace hazards. Specific targeted measures need to be taken in education and training as well as in daily workplace practice. This factsheet provides some recommendations.

E-fact 18 - Risk assessment in health care (Feb 28, 2007)

This article outlines the risk factors specific to the health care sector and describes practical steps of risk assessment. Risk assessment is a key to preventing and reducing health care workers exposure to work hazards.

E-fact 17 - The prevention of work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs) in construction (Jan 24, 2007)

WRULDs are impairments of bodily structures such as tendons, ligaments, nerves, muscles and the blood circulation system, caused by work and the effects of the working environment. WRULDs are widespread in the construction sector, especially in certain trades. This summary aims to inform workers, their supervisors and employers, and occupational safety and health professionals in the construction sector about WRULDs. It helps to identify the particular risks that workers face of developing WRULDs and provides advice and case study examples, concerning the practical steps that can be taken to prevent or reduce the risks.

E-fact 16 - Hazards and risks leading to work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs) (Jan 24, 2007)

WRULDs are the commonest occupational diseases in Europe. They usually develop gradually, the cumulative effect of many, apparently moderate applications of force, repeated over an extended period. The result is muscle fatigue, which can injure the soft tissue of the neck, shoulders and upper limbs. This web summary provides information on the WRULDs risk factors, relevant European legislation and risk assessment.

E-fact 15 - Work – related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and the pace of work (Jan 24, 2007)

Pace of work is one of the major causes of ill health in the workplace, and the available evidence shows that it is quickening. This web summary provides information on relations between the pace of work and MSDs, and its control.

E-fact 14 - Hazards and risks associated with manual handling in the workplace (Jan 23, 2007)

Manual handling occurs in almost all working environments, though workers in construction, agriculture, hotels and restaurants are most likely to be exposed to heavy loads. This web summery provides information on hazards linked to manual handling, their risk assessment and preventive measures, including correct manual handling of loads techniques. It also gives information on legislation relevant to manual handling.

E-fact 13 - Office ergonomics (Jan 23, 2007)

Office workers are exposed to a number of health risks, amongst others, to sedentary work, repetition, work with computers and unsuitable microclimate. This web summary provides specific guidance on use of office equipment, providing a safe working environment, and workstation practices, including a detailed VDU checklist.

E-fact 12 - Work related musculoskeletal disorders in the service and retail sectors (Jan 23, 2007)

The service and retail sectors offer a wide range of jobs including in shops, restaurants, offices, distribution and entertainment. Many are physically demanding, and workers in these sectors are particularly at risk from back and upper limb disorders. Many factors can contribute — either individually or in combination — to the development of MSDs. This web summary provides information on hazards and risks in the sector, assessment of MSD risks and preventive measures including examples of solutions to common musculoskeletal problems.

E-fact 11 - European legal requirements relating to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) (Jan 23, 2007)

This web summary provides information on European legal requirements relating to MSDs, including international conventions and standards, European Directives and European standards, and examples of specific legislation in Member States.

E-fact 10 - Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in education (Jan 23, 2007)

The available data for the education sector reveals very low rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Education workers have low exposure to repetitive hand and arm movements, and very few are at risk from carrying heavy loads. Typically, the tasks performed by employees, the majority of whom are teachers, are neither repetitive nor static. Employees can freely change their posture and generally carry light loads. The European Union has not passed any specific health and safety legislation covering education, but some general Directives and standards can be applied to the sector.

E-fact 9 - Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs): an introduction (Jan 22, 2007)

Factors contributing to MSDs include use of force, repetitive work, work in awkward postures, vibration, work in cold environments, and prolonged sitting or standing. They are also affected by levels of stress, autonomy and support from colleagues, individuals' prior medical history, physical capacity and age, and social factors such as leisure activities. These factors may act uniquely or in combination. Employers are required to assess the risks that their workers face, including the risk of developing MSDs, and act on them.

E-fact 5 - Hazards and Risks in the Retail Trade: advice for young workers (Oct 24, 2006)

Many young people work in shops, supermarkets and stores. But working in the retail sector can be hazardous, especially when you are young and new to the job. Some hazards, such as the risk of slips or falls, are found in many other industries. Others are more specific to the retail sector. You may be at risk from moving vehicles in delivery areas, falling objects, and strains on your body from lifting loads and making repetitive movements. You may also be at risk of being assaulted or threatened by members of the public. But there are things that can be done to control these hazards and risks effectively.

Report - Priorities for occupational safety and health research in the EU-25 (Nov 29, 2005)

The report is structured around four thematic areas: psychosocial work environment, musculoskeletal disorders, dangerous substances and OSH management. Section 1 presents a list of all the major priorities identified. Section 2 contains a brief description of OSH global trends and EU policy framework, in order to set these themes into the relevant context.

Report - Expert forecast on emerging physical risks related to occupational safety and health (Nov 17, 2005)

The evolution of society and the changing world of work bring new risks and challenges for workers and employers. The Community strategy on health and safety at work 2002–06 called on the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work to ‘set up a risk observatory’ and to ‘anticipate new and emerging risks’. A first forecasting exercise aiming at identifying emerging physical risks related to occupational safety and health (OSH) has been carried out.

E-fact 1 - Musculoskeletal disorders in construction (Sep 27, 2004)

Musculoskeletal disorders are some of the most common forms of ill health in construction. Musculoskeletal disorders are particularly prevalent across a range of Construction industry trades with estimates suggesting that as many as 30% of the workforce may be affected. Recent research has indicated that musculoskeletal disorders are particularly prevalent in certain construction trades oroccupational groups such as bricklayers, plasterers and joiners.

Factsheet 37 - Improving occupational safety and health in SMEs: examples of effective assistance (Jun 16, 2003)

SMEs are important contributors to European competitiveness, with most new jobs in Europe being created by micro-enterprises with up to six employees. However, they also face particular difficulties including effective management of safety and health and Member States have set up measures to assist entrepreneurship. The Agency has carried out several important projects to improve occupational safety and health in SMEs, including special funding schemes of good safety and health practice in SMEs initiated by the European Parliament and the European Commission. As part of these efforts the Agency has also made a study of practical examples of successful occupational safety and health assistance services to SMEs.

Report - Work-related Low Back Disorders (Nov 24, 2000)

Work-related low back disorders, covering both low back pain and low back injuries, are a significant and increasing problem in Europe. This report covers the prevalence, origin, workrelated risk factors and effective prevention strategies for low back disorders. The report is limited to low back disorders although some of the findings may be applicable to other types of work-related back problems.

Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in practice (Nov 01, 2000)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are one of the most common work-related ailments affecting millions of European workers across all employment sectors at a cost of billions of euros to Europe’s economy. The disorders cover a broad range of health problems. The main groups are back pain/injuries and workrelated upper limb disorders, commonly known as ‘repetitive strain injuries’. Lower limbs can also be affected.

Magazine 3 - Preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (Oct 25, 2000)

The European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2000, which has taken place in Member States during the month of October, has provided a unique opportunity to focus widespread attention on the problem of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These are one of most prevalent of occupational ailments, affecting millions of European workers in all types of jobs and employment sectors every year. However, much of the problem could be prevented or reduced by following existing health and safety regulations and guidance on good practice. Getting this message across has been the key aim of the Week’s campaign.

Factsheet 10 - Work-related low back disorders (Oct 01, 2000)

Work-related low back disorders, covering both low back pain and low back injuries, are a significant and increasing problem in Europe. This fact sheet highlights the key findings of an Agency report on the prevalence, origins, work-related risk factors and effective prevention strategies for low back disorders. The report is limited to low back disorders although some of the findings may be applicable to other types of work-related back problems.

Factsheet 9 - Inventory of socio-economic information about work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the Member States of the European Union (Sep 30, 2000)

This inventory of socio-economic information about workrelated musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) brings together existing information from European Member States about specific cost elements related to these work-related disorders. It aims to present basic socio-economic information that can be used by all those who have an interest in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders and/or the reintegration into employment of (ex) workers with this kind of health problem. The aim of this document is not to provide a model or a definition of the total costs due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. It only aims to collate relevant information available in the Member States about certain specific socio-economic factors in relation to MSD. In this way this document provides background information as required by the European Commission’s Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (Luxembourg). It should be kept in mind that all information provided here is based on existing literature in the Member States or references given to us by our network partners (national Focal points and members of the Thematic Network Group Systems and Programmes) in the Member States. For each statistic or data a reference to a source is given. The content of this inventory has been the subject of consultation with the national Focal points (including social partner representatives in the Focal Point Group). It should be borne in mind that methods of calculation and definition often differ so that any direct comparison between data can be questioned. However given the range of data available, we believe that the information provides a useful overview of the current situation.

Report - Repetitive Strain Injuries in the Member States of the European Union: the results of an information request (Feb 24, 2000)

There is a growing interest in the subject of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) as illustrated by a recent information request from the Dutch Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment - as the Dutch Focal Point of the Agency's network. The Agency was requested to collect information on RSI via its Focal Point network in the Member States.

Factsheet 6 - Repetitive Strain Injuries in EU Member States (Feb 04, 2000)

‘Repetitive Strain Injury’ or ‘RSI’ is a commonly used, if not universally agreed, term to cover a range of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders can affect both upper and lower limbs including the shoulders and neck, the wrist, elbows and knees, and can be caused by work involving awkward postures and movements or of a highly repetitive or fast-paced nature (see Agency report Workrelated neck and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders). This fact sheet highlights the findings of a new European Agency report, Repetitive Strain Injuries in the Member States of the European Union, and is based on the results of a survey questionnaire distributed in 1999. It was carried out at the request of the Dutch Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment who wanted to know how different European countries define and measure the ‘RSI’ problem and the types of policies and actions they have in place to tackle it.

Factsheet 5 - Work-related neck and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders (Feb 03, 2000)

Work-related neck and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders (WRULDs) are one of the most common work-related ailments affecting millions of European workers across all employment sectors. This fact sheet highlights the key findings of an Agency report that has taken stock of the extent, cause and prevention of problem.

Factsheet 4 - Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (Feb 02, 2000)

Our common priority “Turn your Back on Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders” is the theme for the European Week for Safety and Health at Work being run by the 15 European Union Member States during October 2000. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are one of the most common workrelated ailments affecting millions of European workers across all employment sectors at a cost of billions of Euros to European employers (see Agency Factsheet “Work-related Musculokeletal Disorders in Europe” (2)). However, much of the problem could be prevented or reduced by following existing health and safety regulations and guidance on good practice.

Factsheet 3 - Work related musculoskeletal disorders in Europe (Feb 01, 2000)

A European Priority Across Europe manual handling and repetitive movements are priority risks requiring attention. Therefore "Turn your Back on Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders" has been chosen for the theme of European Week for Safety and Health at Work which will be run by each Member State in October 2000. It is a priority because of the extent and cost of these disorders in Europe. It is a priority because much of the problem can be prevented or reduced by following existing health and safety laws and guidance on good practice. Europe wide reports show Member States urgency to tackle the issue.

Report - Work-Related Neck and Upper Limb Musculoskeletal Disorders (Nov 15, 1999)

The scientific committee for musculoskeletal disorders of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) recognise work-related musculoskeletal disorders which describe a wide range of inflammatory and degenerative diseases and disorders that result in pain and functional impairment.