Risks to muscles, bones and joints

Last reviewed on 24/01/2013 18:20

Damage to muscles, bones and joints is one of the most common work-related illnesses. Therefore, specific duties are proscribed in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations and the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations. The principal duties include: avoiding the need for hazardous manual handling operations and tasks involving significant physical effort, repetitive movement, or poor posture and assessing those hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided, and reducing the risk of injury.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or more precisely Upper Limb Disorders, are terms used to refer to a range of disorders of the neck, shoulder, arm, wrist and hand, that can be caused, or made worse by work.

These injuries can be caused by using excessive force (pushing, pulling or supporting), making repetitive movements, adopting an awkward or static posture, and by spending excessive time on an activity. Environmental, psychosocial and individual factors can also play a part, including work design, organisation, management and the social environment.

The printed guidance chapter on Risks to muscles, bones and joints will help you begin to manage these exposures at work. The guidance helps you find the answers to the questions:

  • What should I know?
  • Am I at risk?
  • What should I do?
  • What should I avoid?

Risks to muscles, bones and joints video

The Risks to muscles, bones and joints video accompanying the chapter will help raise your awareness and you can use it with your staff to begin to involve them in finding suitable solutions.


Download a transcript for the Risks to muscles, bones and joints video.

For further information and support on the common Health Risks at Work check out the Where to get help section or contact the following organisations:

  • Healthy Working Lives (Scotland): 0800 019 2211
  • Health for Work (England): 0800 0778844
  • Work Boost Wales: 0845 609 6006
  • Health and Safety Works NI: 0300 020 0030

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