Programme of reduction of the accident rate for musculoskeletal disorders

Published on: 08/01/2016
MSD Programme

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common work-related injuries. They affect workers in all sectors and are a major issue in terms of health and associated costs. More than a third of work-related injuries and three quarters of occupational diseases are of a musculoskeletal character.

According to data published by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA), musculoskeletal disorders are the most common occupational disease in the European Union (EU-27):

  • 25% of European workers complain about backache and 23% claim to have muscle pains.
  • 62% of workers of the EU-27 spend a quarter of the time doing repetitive hand and arm movements, 46% are in painful or strenuous postures and 35% carry or move heavy loads.
  • In the case of certain risks, such as work where people have to be carried, women have a higher risk than men at 11% compared with 6% for a quarter of the time or more.

MSDs are expensive disorders due to their direct costs (insurance, compensation, medical and administration costs) and indirect costs (staff substitution, loss of productivity, lack of motivation, etc.)

A programme that improves musculoskeletal disorders, productivity and quality of life

The time needed to lower the indicators below the average depends on the most common type of injury in the company, although in general between 12 and 24 months is needed.

  • When injuries are caused by the handling of loads, it is usually easier to obtain short-term results, as in many cases the solution involves installing mechanical aids that are simple and not expensive.

  • When injuries are caused by a badly-designed work position, results will take between 12 and 24 months, as the workstations need to be modified and their elements relocated, which follows a redesign process. It is often necessary to alter the production process during improvements and sometimes it affects the layout of the process.

A flexible, coherent, professional action plan

The action plan is structured into different phases to maximise its effectiveness and return:


  1. Previous analysis of the accident rate
    Our prevention technician prepares an accident rate report which analyses the volume and type of work-related accidents and occupational diseases.

  2. Visit to the company
    A meeting is arranged with the contact person of the company to explain the initial diagnosis and the collaboration proposal to reduce the accident rate.

  3. Critical point diagnosis and preparation of the action plan
    Our prevention technician makes an in-depth analysis of the reasons and factors that influence the accident rate, and then prepares a diagnosis and proposes an action plan that covers a period of between 12 and 24 months.
  4. Activities to be carried out by our technicians
    • Contribution of good ergonomic practices (from the existing database).
    • Development of best practices to solve the problems detected with the participation of ergonomists from the Ergonomic Laboratory.
    • Provision of training (designing workstations for the company technicians).
    • Provision of documentation.
  5. Activities to be carried out by the company
    All the activities envisaged as a business responsibility by the Occupational Hazard Prevention Act are carried out by the company using the type of risk prevention system it has adopted.
  6. Starting up of the programme
    Development of actions and monitoring in regular meetings.
  7. Permanent advice
    Our prevention technician advises the company managers responsible on any aspect of the plan and development of the accident rate at all times.