What is the Impact on Work?

  • MSK problems are the most common and often the worst health problem in the workplace
  • Reported by roughly three out of every five employees
  • Affect all ages but more common with increasing age
  • Account for 27% of all working days lost but also cause difficulties when in work and leaving work early
  • 33% of long-term sickness absence attributed to MSK
  • Many people stay in work with MSK problems but with difficulty and reduced efficiency / productivity (presenteeism)
  • Many leave the workforce early because of MSK conditions with only 60% in employment v 80% healthy people
  • This costs – sick pay, lost productivity, retraining costs and people’s quality of life

This impact is because good MSK health is integral to a full and healthy working life

• Mobility and dexterity are needed for most work tasks

Musculoskeletal Health and Work

Musculoskeletal health and work are interlinked.

Musculoskeletal conditions often limit work capacity as they affect the ability to perform common physical tasks, for example osteoarthritis of the hip or knee limits mobility and prevents many people aged over 50 years working.  As these conditions become more common as people age, they often prevent people working into older ages.

Work can cause or aggravate musculoskeletal conditions, for example lifting can cause or worsen back pain, repetitive work activities are related to upper limb problems.