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Musculoskeletal Disorders: a Fatality? Roland Gauthy, Eur.Erg. Research ETUI-REHS.

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Presentation on theme: "Musculoskeletal Disorders: a Fatality? Roland Gauthy, Eur.Erg. Research ETUI-REHS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Musculoskeletal Disorders: a Fatality? Roland Gauthy, Eur.Erg. Research Officer @ ETUI-REHS

2 Agenda An “old” problem, –with huge consequences (costs / impacts) –caused by classical & newer risk factors Confrontation with new challenges: demography, global economy, technological changes What to do from a worker’s point of view?

3 An old problem Paleopathologists show that MSDs already existed since antique times MSDs remain a problem although efforts have been made to better understand & control them –Clear link between different activities, working conditions & MSDs… 1000 of publications –Legislative instruments: directive, standards –Measure of impacts & costs

4 Impacts Economical impacts at several levels –Individual (1) –Company –Societal –EU (global impacts) Human impacts (2) -------------------------------------------------------------  (1) + (2) ~ ‘worker’s costs’

5 Workers’ costs (not only €) Loss of wages Out- and inpatient costs, orthopaedic equipment and rehabilitation costs, home care costs Time spent in health care and rehabilitation facilities (lost opportunities to do… ) Transportation Altered way of life (autonomy) Lost of opportunities: living projects, working projects, leisure, pension... Deteriorated quality of life with impacts on the family and the social network

6 Classical vs newer risk factors We have the classical combination of physical factors triggering MSDs Force / Posture / Repetition / Vibration but Other factors and contexts shall be considered  even in ‘lighter jobs’ are MSDs observed:

7 Newer contexts & risk factors The work content has changed: lighter (less physical), more intense, enlarged (combo of several tasks) but (paradox) with restricted room to manoeuvre The working conditions are different: more flexible, high tech, just-on-time, lean…precarious The socio-economical context has changed = globalized, international, extremely competitive The way of living is different: commuting time, intensity, garbage producing society // garbage’s added value (re- usable, sustainable development, …)

8 Combination of risk factors & of loads Stressors, emotional loads, sensorial ones, etc.: working with people, violence, specialization Use of ICT: ‘ping pong’ ~ extremely reduced response time is the rule, proactivity is required, emotional intelligence is must… Quasi absence of variations in posture + sedentary way of life (use of cars / transportation) Suppression of ‘non added value’ time ~ suppression of recovery periods

9 Examples Supermarket’s cashiers enlarged role –scanning (goes quicker)  repetitive handling (tons/day) –money / credit cards / coupons –promotion / hostess –control Dentist’s restricted role –pure dentistry (more €) –other tasks allocated to dental assistants Selected sorting of valuable waste packing  unpacking  sorting

10 Stressors in the workplace (often combined with mechanical factors) could explain the development of MSD although actions have been taken to combat physical/mechanical factors: work organisation, psychosocial burdens, degree of latitude – room to manoeuvre social support …

11 Facing New Challenges… Such as: Declining demography, Aging Longer working life, Globalised economy, Energy costs

12  Health Impacts  Cumulated Health Impacts Unless speaking of an accident, the isolated impact of a MSD is totally uninteresting! “Unfortunately” MSDs do not kill but are slowly “gnawing” It is in the long run, through repetitions that the (bio) mechanical part of the body erodes… like your intervertebral disks while seating constantly… destructedIt is in the duration, from our birth, and all along our career (inclusive the excursions out of the tracks) that health is either constructed or destructed 

13  or the cumulative impacts of MSD’s risk factors

14 Younger & “50+” Workers’ Exposures vs. Complaints…?! Younger workers = heavier jobs / less complaints 50+ = lighter jobs / more complaints Even consider the “forgotten MSDs” !!!

15 Demographic challenge !  working up to 67 years ? What about the preventive approach at work for everybody & everywhere? Here should Ethics & Intelligence (prevention) work together... At least for those willing to look ahead

16 Precariousness & prevention The weakest way to prevent is to provide training… because training does not –Address potential causes –Tend to influence the weakest link (that is why training is so essentially weak!)‏ Although it is the most popular preventive tool in companies… (lack of vision or cupidity ?) Access to training is usually limited: few precarious workers are incorporated in OSH training programs… one could imagine to which level they are involved in participatory design and hazard inventory (stocktaking)!…

17 The “forgotten” MSDs ? MSD’s history started with tile setters’ hygroma Its continues with “salami” chopped workers = –a lumbar area –a neck –upper-limbs Where are the other body parts ? It seems that they do not have no cognitive, emotional or sensorial loads, no feelings –Brain & CNS  no cognitive, emotional or sensorial loads, no feelings no “feet-ankles, knees or hips” disorders –Lower-limbs  no “feet-ankles, knees or hips” disorders –A real body with its interrelated and interconnected physiological functions 

18 The following may not exist !?

19 What do workers need? –Adequate legislation (directive) “asap” –Useful and “in-use” legislation: principle = “pedagogic- control-sanction” –Participatory hazard reduction from design to implementation of tools & work systems –Increased knowledge and awareness at all levels (workers and representatives, preventionists, labour inspection & employers)‏ –Job retention / return to work (rehabilitation) –Systematic compensation for the victims –Updated list of occupational diseases (even to allow better EU comparisons)

20 More information Topics (e.g. MSD) Bibliography ETUC’s positions

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