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University to further research into MSDs in construction

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Construction sites across Great Britain are being targeted as part of a health inspection initiative aimed at reducing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).


Starting on 3 October, inspectors will be visiting a range of construction sites to check how they are managing the health risks of moving and handling materials.

If moving and lifting is managed properly, HSE says that a physical job on a building site should not result in aches, pains or strains. Yet, according to its data, around 40,000 construction workers suffered from work-related MSDs last year. 

Matt Birtles, principal ergonomist at HSE, said: “Serious aches, pains and strains can affect every part of someone’s life. They can struggle to get themselves dressed and undressed, they can be unable to pick up their children or grandchildren.

“It’s not something that many people feel comfortable talking about, perhaps particularly on a building site, but if your back has gone or if you’re in agony whenever you move your arms, measures need to be put in place to address the causes.”

If moving and lifting is managed properly, HSE says that a physical job on a building site should not result in aches, pains or strains. Photograph: iStock

Employers and their workers will be shown by inspectors how to plan their work and which control measures can protect workers from injuries. There are 1,000 inspections planned in October and November, as part of HSE’s Work Right campaign.

HSE’s head of construction, Sarah Jardine, said: “We want everyone in the industry, from designers to contractors and their workers, to be aware of the risks associated with any moving or lifting task and put appropriate measures in place.

“This is a significant health issue for tens of thousands of construction workers and can lead to a lifetime of terrible aches and pains.”

“Thankfully there are measures that can be taken to prevent injuries to muscles, bones, joints and nerves. Doing so is good for workers and good for the construction industry. It’s good for business.”

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