European Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2020-2022

Week beginning October 25th 2021 is European Week for Safety and Health at Work. The theme for the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2020-22, organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), is ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load’. The campaign aims to raise awareness of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and the importance of preventing them.

What are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)?

MSDs are conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system and can present in the tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and/or nerves of the limbs and back. Symptoms may include pain, discomfort, numbness and tingling in the affected area and can differ in severity from mild and periodic to severe, chronic and debilitating conditions. Most work-related MSDs are cumulative disorders, resulting, for instance, from repeated exposure to high intensity loads over a period of time.

Millions of workers throughout Europe suffer from MSDs. Despite significant efforts to prevent them, work-related MSDs remain the most common work-related health problem in Europe. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of work-related MSDs as they can often have less robust occupational safety and health (OSH) management than their larger counterparts.

Work-related MSDs are one of the most common causes of disability and sick leave and can be a substantial drain on the resources of an employer, including costs such as sick pay, lost productivity, retraining, legal costs and injury benefit. However, they also represent a significant opportunity for cost reduction, since they are manageable and preventable.

Working together to prevent work-related MSDs

The Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2020-22 will not only increase awareness of work-related MSDs and their negative impact on workers and businesses, but also promote employers and employees working together to manage and prevent MSDs in the workplace. Close collaboration between employers and employees creates a common understanding of the issue and leads to lasting improvements.

Further details

Full details about the 2020-22 Healthy Workplaces Campaign including lots of helpful information and guidance can be accessed at the campaign website.

To find out more about the campaign theme, European Safety Week or how to get involved, please email pressoffice@hsa.ie.