Manual Handling

Manual Handling

Musculo-Skeletal Disorder

Identified by the Health and Safety Executive as the leading cause of occupational illness, musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) affect around 1 million people per year. An estimated 11.6 million working days a year are lost to work-related MSDs.

Musculo-skeletal disorders is one of the most common reasons for seeking medical attention, sickness absence from work and long-term disability. Problems include back pain, work-related neck and upper limb disorders (ULDs), including repetitive strain injuries, and lower limb disorders. Raising awareness, prevention and management are all key factors in reducing MSDs. Musculo-skeletal disorders affect all workplaces. The highest incidence is in the retail, food, construction, mining and agriculture (source: HSE).

Musculo-skeletal disorders or MSD is a term used to describe the ill health effects associated with the muscles and bones within your body. Concerned specifically about the MSD that is caused by, aggravated by, or impact on work, Peritus Health Management has a variety of strategies aimed at reducing the impact of MSDs on the sufferers as well as their employers.


Peritus Health Management recommends that the strategies used to reduce the risk of musculo-skeletal disorders follow the principles set in the Health and Safety Executive’s 5 Steps to Risk Assessment.


Tools, such as the MAC Booklet, ART, Push and Pull, REBA, all help to assess the risk from tasks.

Peritus Health Management recommends that employees undertaking the tasks should be involved with the risk assessments so that the risk assessments reflect the duties undertaken accurately, and employee actions reflect the safe system of work identified in the risk assessment.

Steps taken to minimise risk should be reviewed to ensure that they are doing what was intended.

Where employees are known to have existing musculo-skeletal disorders, individual assessment is required. Peritus Health Management’s Occupational Health Advisors will assess the individual’s health problem, ensure that the individual is receiving the optimum treatment from their health care professionals, review the working environment and provide advice where modifications to their duties are required.


All employees at risk from musculo-skeletal disorders should be provided with information, instruction and training on a regular basis to help them to understand and implement the safe systems of work put in place to ensure their health, safety and welfare.


Employees experiencing musculo-skeletal disorders can have long term periods of sickness absence. Helping an employee manage the musculo-skeletal disorder at an early stage through the provision of manual physiotherapy with a Chartered Physiotherapist can usually demonstrate a cost-benefit to the company with a significantly reduced sickness absence.
Peritus Health Management can assist with the provision of physiotherapy specially selected to proactively manage injuries and aid return to work.

Peritus Health Management provides training on:

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Published date: 19th February 2018

Last revision: 1st August 2019

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