What is a MSK healthy workplace?

A MSK healthy workplace enables people be healthy, fit and stay in work

The goal is for your workplace to

  • reduce risks associated with MSK
  • promote physical health to help to prevent MSK conditions developing
  • encourage and support early intervention for MSK problems
  • enable people with MSK problems to remain in work, responding to their needs
  • accommodate effective rehabilitation and return to work for those that need it

This needs a proactive approach with an open culture with everyone knowing and enabled to do what they can and should be doing to protect their own MSK health.

Many solutions are simple but the benefits can be great by creating a safe, healthy and supportive workplace

Be MSK Aware

Are you MSK Aware?  Are you being proactive and taking actions to promote MSK health, prevent MSK problems arising in the workplace and supporting those with MSK problems to stay in work?

Key actions have been identified by experts in MSK health, health and safety, public health, occupational health and HR, including OHID (PHE), HSE and RoSPA, along with employers and employees from businesses large and small brought together by MSK Aware CIC.

Key actions for employers and workers to protect, promote and support MSK health in the workplace

Musculoskeletal health is important so you can do the things you want to do at work and at home.  MSK health is everyone’s responsibility.  Everyone has a right to a safe and healthy workplace.  Know how to protect, promote and support musculoskeletal health in the workplace.

Employers need to:

  • Recognise that MSK health is important in your organisation and make a commitment from all tiers within organisation to provide a safe and healthy workplace that prevents MSK risks, promotes health and wellbeing and is inclusive for those with MSK conditions
  • Take a proactive approach and encourage and support workers to look after their MSK health both in and outside the workplace
  • Ensure everyone knows their role and responsibilities in promoting, protecting and supporting MSK health
  • Create an open culture of health and wellbeing that provides opportunities for employees to speak up and enables a shared understanding of challenges and creation and ownership of solutions
  • Have a an MSK health workplace champion

Workers need to:

  • Be aware that good MSK health at all ages is important for you at work and at home
  • Know how to protect and promote your MSK health
  • Know what to do if you have an MSK problem
  • Work together and encourage everyone to “do the right thing” to protect and promote MSK health across the workplace

What employers and workers should know and do

Actions needed to create a MSK healthy workplace including but going beyond your legal duty

Look after MSK health at home & at work


  • Facilitate open discussions on healthy lifestyles and lead by example
  • Encourage and support your workers to develop positive attitudes towards MSK health both in and outside the workplace
  • Encourage and provide opportunities for MSK health promoting activities such as warm-ups and minibreaks to move and stretch
  • Inform staff of available workplace support and facilities to promote their MSK health, for example through exercise


  • Do what you can to look after your MSK health by committing to a healthy lifestyle in and out of the workplace
  • Have a personal plan, set goals and take action

Reduce risks in the workplace to protect MSK health


  • Identify and assess the risks in your workplace and manage them proactively
  • Provide training, time and equipment to enable employees to carry out their tasks safely
  • Engage with staff to ensure good practice
  • Tackle root causes with good ergonomic design and health & safety procedures
  • Have clear procedures for reporting risks and incidents in the workplace, both to recognise and mitigate individual risks, and to identify patterns and the need for action
  • Encourage and enable workers to speak up if they see a health & safety risk


  • Know how to recognise your risks in the workplace and in your work
  • Reduce your risks by participating in health & safety training and using equipment safely
  • Report any risks you identify – speak up before problems happen to you or others
  • Understand your own abilities and capacity

Support individuals who are experiencing musculoskeletal ill-health at work


  • Understand the physical and psychosocial impact of MSK conditions
  • Enable, encourage and respond to early reporting of MSK problems. Ask, listen, act, feedback and learn for another time
  • Facilitate early intervention with clear pathways and by looking for simple solutions and adaptations to work
  • Know what resources are available to enable workers to manage their MSK problem in the workplace and where to signpost workers for information and support ,such as occupational health and physio services
  • Ensure employees know their rights and what support they can ask for
  • Enable and provide opportunities for employees to speak up and work together with employers, managers and health professionals to find solution
  • Be flexible in finding solutions to enable workers to stay in work
  • Learn from MSK problems that present, review work practices and then integrate any lessons into work practices and training


  • Know why early intervention is important
  • Know how to speak up, report problems, and access help
  • Act early if you experience pain or symptoms
  • Know what to ask your employer, manager or healthcare professional
  • Know where to access help and support
  • Work together with employers, managers and healthcare professionals to find and implement solutions to enable you to remain in work

This website provides a general approach to supporting MSK health that can be followed by employers or employees, but bespoke solutions can be developed based on the specific needs of your workplace and employees by contacting info@mskaware.org