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Work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can affect muscles, joints and tendons in all parts of the body. Most MSDs develop over time. They can be episodic or chronic in duration and can also result from injury sustained in a work-related accident. Additionally, they can progress from mild to severe disorders.


  • 473,000 workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (new and long-standing) in 2022/23

  • 6.6 million working days lost due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2022/23

The total number of workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2022/23 was 473,000, a prevalence rate of 1,400 per 100,000 workers. These comprised of 196,000 cases where the upper limbs or neck was mainly affected, 195,000 where the back was mainly affected and 82,000 where the lower limbs were mainly affected.


In 2022/23, musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 27% of all work-related ill health cases and 21% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.


By top-level industry, musculoskeletal disorders are most prevalent in:

  • Administrative and support service activities

  • Construction

  • Human health and social work activities


In terms of occupation, higher than the all jobs average rate of musculoskeletal disorders over 2020/21-2022/23 were found in:

  • Skilled trades occupations

  • Process, plant and machine operatives

  • Caring, leisure and other service occupations

The main work factors cited as causing work-related musculoskeletal disorders were manual handling, working in awkward or tiring positions, and keyboard or repetitive work.



Whilst you should first design the manual handling operations to be as safe as reasonably practicable, training can be important in raising awareness and reducing risk!


Why not book a place on our half-day Manual Handling Course, for only £65 + VAT per person. For more information:

01782 438813

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