European Campaign urges to take action against work-related back painComments Off on European Campaign urges to take action against work-related back pain

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most common work-related health problem in Europe – across the EU, 25% of workers suffer from backache and 23% have muscular pains. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work‘s 2007 pan-European campaign was launched by Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimír Špidla to urge employers, employees and politicians to ‘Lighten the Load’.

MSDs are caused mainly by manual handling, frequent bending and twisting, heavy physical work and whole-body vibration. The risk of MSDs can increase with the pace of work, low job satisfaction, high job demands and job stress. MSDs are the biggest cause of absence from work in practically all Member States. In some states, 40% of the costs of workers’ compensation are caused by MSDs, and up to 1.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country itself.

Many problems can be prevented or greatly reduced through employers complying with existing safety and health law and following good practice. However, there are specific actions that have to be taken if MSDs are to be tackled effectively.

The ‘Lighten the Load’ campaign to tackle MSDs in the workplace supports an integrated management approach.

Special activities and events linked to the campaign will be organised across Europe during the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, celebrated on 22-26 October 2007. The campaign, which also features a competition on good practices to prevent and tackle MSDs at work, will end in March 2008.