FAQs - Lower limb disorders
What causes LLDs?
Answer: The most common risk factors at work are:
- repetitive kneeling and/or squatting;
- fixed postures such as standing for more than two hours without a break;
- frequent jumping from a height.
What are the symptoms of LLDs?
Answer: Pain, tenderness or stiffness of the joint, unable to straighten or bend those joints. Tenderness aches and pains, stiffness, weakness, tingling, numbness, cramp and swelling to the muscles of the lower limbs. These symptoms may suggest overuse or some underlying condition and, if you are concerned, seek advice from your Doctor/GP.
Scientific evidence suggests that there are several recognised diseases of the lower limb which can be work related such as: hip and knee osteoarthritis; knee bursitis, meniscal lesions/tears; stress fracture/reaction injury and varicose veins of the lower legs.
How can I prevent LLDs?
Answer: Because most injury happens as a result of overuse, the most effective way to reduce the risk is to provide/use mechanical aids or rotate duties to reduce the time spent carrying out a 'risky' task and give time for recovery. Where possible, provide seating rather than requiring people to squat or kneel and have regular breaks. Provide personal protective equipment such as:
- Knee pads to protect the knee while kneeling on hard floor surfaces to prevent lacerations and penetrating injuries and improve comfort.
- Anti-fatigue matting may be effective in reducing the risks from prolonged standing, but be aware that using the mats in the workplace may increase the risk from slips and trips.
- Shock absorbing insoles and modified shoes, although there is limited evidence that using these aids reduces the risk. The positive effects are mainly in respect of injuries from vertical impact loads.
What law applies to LLDs?
Answer: Employers have legal duties under:
- the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; and
- the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
These duties include ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of employees at work, and assessing and reducing potential risks to their health, safety and wellbeing. Employers have a duty to do something if there is a problem which is causing or aggravating existing symptoms - this may include providing protective clothing or referral to an occupational health provider for some medical help.
- Manual handling at work: A brief guide
- Managing upper limb disorders in the workplace
- Manual handling assessment charts
- Risk assessment of pushing and pulling (RAPP) tool
- Making the best use of lifting and handling aids