U.K. Agency Launches Online Tool to Help Prevent Musculoskeletal Disorders

March 24, 2010
Great Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced a new, downloadable tool to help businesses and organizations reduce the likelihood of their employees suffering from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the upper limbs associated with repetitive tasks.

MSDs are the most common occupational illness in Britain. They affect more than 500,000 people every year and often are linked to repetitive work tasks such as packing on a production line or the regular use of hand tools.

The Assessment of Repetitive Tasks (ART) tool, developed by HSE and Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), can help identify where the significant risks lie, suggest where to focus risk reduction measures and help prioritize improvements.

“Assessing quick, repetitive movements of the arms and hands can be more difficult than assessing manual handling operations like heavy lifting. Often, actions to reduce MSDs caused by repetitive tasks are incredibly simple, yet are overlooked by employers because the risks are not so readily recognized,” Jeremy Ferreira, senior ergonomist at HSL.

“The ART tool makes it much easier to determine where the risks lie, and what measures should be taken by employers together with their workforce to reduce the potential for injury,” he added.

The tool complements existing HSE guidance on upper limbs. It is available online at http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/uld/art.

HSE is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It works to prevent death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities. For more information, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk.

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