Musculoskeletal Disorders in Healthcare

Patient Moving

Manual handling is the most commonly reported accident trigger in the healthcare sector. In 2010 it accounted for 34% of the reported incidents from this sector. The most common cause of reported incidents involved lifting or carrying a load (42% of reported incidents in 2010).

Manual handling injuries in healthcare are as a result of both:

  • patient moving and handling, and
  • the manual handling of inanimate loads.

These injuries can have a significant impact on resources in terms of absenteeism and costs from claims arising from such incidents.

Stresses and strains arising from adopting awkward or static postures when treating patients can also give rise to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Activities such as supporting patient limbs and working in positions with little scope for changing posture for extended periods of time, can result in pain and the risks need to be assessed.

There are legal obligations on employers to:

  • avoid hazardous manual handling tasks where possible, where they cannot be avoided
  • reduce the risk to make the work activities as safe as possible

 Further Information on Manual Handling and Ergonomics