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Prevention of Musculoskeletal Injuries

Prevention of Musculoskeletal Injuries

In the UK in 2021/22, 477,000 workers suffered from work-related musculoskeletal injuries (new or outstanding). This translated to 7.3 million working days lost during the same period. Viewed from a larger perspective, in 2021/22 musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 27% of all work-related ill health cases and 24% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health. Most of these injuries were to the back (42%), followed by the neck and upper limbs (37%) and lower limbs (21%). Musculoskeletal disorders were most prevalent in the following industries:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fisheries
  • Construction
  • Human health and social work1


Employees involved in manual handling are among those at greatest risk of musculoskeletal injury, and employers have a legal responsibility to protect them from this risk. According to the HSE, “Manual handling means transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force. It includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying, or moving loads. A load can be an object, person or animal.”2 In the care sector, manual handling is typically referred to as moving and handling or moving and assisting.


HSE provides guidance to employers on how to protect workers from the risks of manual handling injuries in the workplace. HSE also has free-to-download publications, such as

HSE also provides specific guidance on moving and handling to the care sector.


Employers have a duty under health and safety laws to assess the risk of injury from manual handling operations. They must also provide training in manual handling/moving and assisting to employees engaged in these activities.

Emcare offers training designed to meet employers’ legal requirements concerning movement of objects or people. Emcare also offers a course that meets the requirements of the Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme (SMHPS) that was launched by The Scottish Government, CoSLA and the Health and Safety Executive in 2014. This scheme provides a framework for training that workers complete and can then carry with them if they change employer. For more information please call one of Emcare’s advisors on 0141 404 0075 or visit





This article contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government License.

Emcare Vision

We aim to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of our clients through the sharing of knowledge and provision of clinical services from an expert team with committed focus on exceptional customer service.


Emcare supports the health & safety, health care and social care sectors by providing a broad range of learning and development course programmes for care and support staff which can be tapped into easily and quickly.
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