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MSD presenteeism in construction focuses minds in new study

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Loughborough University has been awarded £25,000 to further research into musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) presenteeism in the construction industry.


B&CE Charitable Trust chose to award its annual occupational health grant to Professor Alistair Gibb at Loughborough University to study if and why presenteeism – the practice of coming into work when ill – due to MSDs is a problem in construction.

The study hopes to understand if and why people continue to come into work with MSDs, whether it compromises productivity and aims to help employers address underlying causes of musculoskeletal disorder presenteeism.

Loughborough researchers have won funding to investigate musculoskeletal disorders in construction. Photograph: iStock/ilkercelik

Speaking after the announcement, Professor Gibb commented: “Occupational ill health costs UK construction employers hundreds of millions of pounds every year and musculoskeletal disorders account for more than three quarters of the total. 

“A considerable proportion of that cost is believed to be from lost productivity through presenteeism and this work will make an important contribution to increasing understanding of MSD presenteeism, for the benefit of workers and employers alike.”

Construction has significantly higher rates of MSDs than other industries, second only to agriculture. HSE says there were 51,000 work-related cases of MSDs in construction last year, three fifths of all ill health cases reported.

Barbara Dinsdale, head of B&CE charitable trust, said: “This research study will help provide valuable insights into why workers with musculoskeletal disorders continue to go into work when ill in UK construction, and the impact this has on employers. The study may also help to inform future consideration around occupational health provision for musculoskeletal disorders.”

B&CE charitable trust for the construction industry is part of B&CE, a not-for-profit financial services company.

More about the project on B&CE's website here

 

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