Two-thirds suffering musculoskeletal issues say work has made condition worse

Musculoskeletal sufferers

More than two-thirds (68%) of people suffering from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) say their occupation was a contributing factor to developing their condition, according to research by Wills Towers Watson. 

A survey of 2,000 workers found that a further 64% believe that their condition had at least been exacerbated by their job, while 33% said their employers were aware of their condition but failed to provide support.

Employees aged between 18 and 24 were most likely to claim their current job role had contributed to their MSD, as 80% of workers at this age said it was a factor, compared to 61% of 25 to 34 year-olds. 

Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson, said: “These findings should encourage employers to take more effective, precautionary steps to manage the risks. Workplaces that promote good musculoskeletal health can play an important role in helping to alleviate the symptoms of [MSDs] and can even help prevent their onset.

“Early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important, but many [MSDs] will develop over time with work-related causes, including manual handling, lifting and repetitive actions such as keyboard work. Risk assessment can have a big preventative role to play here, helping identify potential problem areas and enabling employers to make practical workplace adjustments, from providing new equipment or improving office ergonomics to encouraging employees to move and stretch regularly.

“[Organisation-wide] education programmes are also important, empowering employees to take responsibility for their own musculoskeletal health and to do the right things in the right way.”