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RR706 - Lower limb musculoskeletal disorders

Scoping work to help inform advice and research planning

This work was commissioned to examine more closely the nature and extent of workplace lower limb musculoskeletal disorders and injuries (LLD) and the causal agents with the aim of informing evidence based guidance and advice for workers and employers.

LLD are a problem in many workplaces and they tend to be associated with conditions in other areas of the body. There are consequences for society, the economy and industry in terms of lost working time, medical treatment and hospitalisation, and effects on quality of life. There is appreciable evidence for kneeling/ squatting, climbing stairs or ladders, heavy lifting, walking/standing, and slips and trips hazards as causal risk factors for LLD.

Further work is recommended to clarify the inter-relationships between injury/pain at different regions of the body; to provide more detailed measures of workplace ergonomics risk exposures; to determine the suitability of existing control strategies and prevention interventions that have been proposed against conditions in other regions of the body (back and upper limbs); to explore the benefits of exercise regimes and coping programmes for those with a condition; and to identify strategies other than regulation that would aid increased awareness of the problems in workplaces and encourage commitment of employers.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19