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Working in pain is expensive for everyone, study concludes

Musculoskeletal disorders could be costing EU Member States up to 2% of their GNP and the problem is getting worse, according to a report compiled by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Europeans are experiencing increasing problems from work-related neck and u...
Musculoskeletal disorders could be costing EU Member States up to 2% of their GNP and the problem is getting worse, according to a report compiled by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Europeans are experiencing increasing problems from work-related neck and upper limb disorders (WRULDs) including 'repetitive strain injuries', concluded the study, which was commissioned by the Agency at the European Commission's request.

Although there are different levels in the various European countries, the study has managed to isolate key factors which increase the risk of workers developing WRULDs. These include poor posture, highly repetitive movements, work involving force applications on the hand or hand-arm vibration. Additional factors include cold work environments, schedules and employees' perception of their work.

The study's authors believe their findings demonstrate sufficient evidence to help identify and protect workers most at risk. They suggest this could be implemented through EU legislation on risk assessment, health surveillance, employee information about training, ergonomic work systems and prevention of fatigue. The publication follows the Agency's launch of its campaign to cut the number of WRULDs in February.

The report, published on 29 February 2000, is available from:

URL: http://agency.osha.eu.int/rsinews/

At the same time, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has also published a related report on 'Repetitive strain injuries' in EU Member States. Based on the results of a survey, it gives an overview of how different European countries define and measure the problem of repetitive strain injury and their policies to tackle it. According to the Agency, the report reveals that 'there is great variation in the collection and availability of data in the different Member States, and that no common definition of 'RSI' exists'.

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