EU-OSHA launches Healthy Workplaces Campaign
19 October 2020
THE EUROPEAN Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched its 2020-2022 campaign — Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load — which focuses on work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Around three in every five workers suffer from MSDs and they remain the most common work-related health complaint in Europe, affecting workers in all jobs and sectors. Repetitive movements, prolonged sitting and heavy lifting are just some of the risk factors that contribute to these conditions, which can affect the muscles, joints, tendons or bones. The negative impact that they have on workers’ quality of life is clear.
At a press conference in Brussels to mark the official launch of the campaign, Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, highlighted the urgent need to take action, "The Commission wholeheartedly supports the campaign launched by the European Agency for Safety & Health at Work (EU-OSHA) to tackle the issue of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Ensuring the best possible work environment is critical for the health and wellbeing of the workforce, and therefore a duty of all employers. Many of us – 3 in 5 – have experienced backache, stiff muscles or a sore neck as a result of our work. This can severely affect our everyday lives, our productivity, and it can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. With the pandemic affecting how we live and work, we can all benefit from the guidance and resources published today."
MSDs also incur significant costs for employers and national health systems. Christa Sedlatschek, EU-OSHA executive director, emphasised that, "In addition to the human suffering caused, workers miss out on so many fulfilling aspects of their private and working lives. Those workers with MSDs are absent from work more often and for longer periods, are likely to be less productive while at work and often take early retirement. This is bad news for businesses and a huge burden on national economies. This campaign will highlight that early intervention and rehabilitation are vital and entirely possible. By working together and adopting good practice now, we can prevent MSDs in future generations of workers.