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The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA)

The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA) is an initiative by the German government, the federal states ("Länder") and the accident insurance institutions. The alliance aims to modernise the German occupational health and safety system and to create incentives for companies to strengthen workplace health and safety. Learn more: The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA) …

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Prevention makes us strong – including our back!

Information about the Work Programme "Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)" of the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy

"Prävention macht stark – auch Deinen Rücken" (Literally: "Prevention makes us strong – including our back!") is the title of the work programme on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) aimed at employees, employers and managers as well as multipliers such as safety specialists, occupational physicians and workers representatives.
Illnesses and disorders of the locomotor apparatus number amongst the most frequent health problems and are one of the main causes of incapacity to work. Almost a quarter of all working days lost in this way are the result of musculoskeletal disorders. Companies and social insurance providers face a high financial burden as a result of working days lost and the cost of treatment. And the employees concerned suffer considerable pain.
The aim of the MSD work programme is to reduce work-related health risks and musculoskeletal disorders, with a main focus on activities with the greatest risk of MSDs such as lifting and carrying heavy loads, repetitive procedures or work involving little movement.

Overview of the work programme


  • MSD portal This cross-sectoral portal brings together all the MSD prevention measures of the GDA bodies and social partners. It contains, for example, a database with details of more than 400 prevention measures categorised according to target groups. With a few mouse-clicks companies, employees and multipliers can find out about the most important tools for reducing and avoiding musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Inspections and advice: Since autumn 2014, labour inspectorates and the accident insurance institutions have been visiting companies, providing them with information and recommendations on how to maintain the health of their employees. The main focus of the inspections is on sectors and occupational groups that are particularly frequently affected by MSDs. By 2017 some 16,000 companies will have been visited.
  • Customised training and seminars: Training courses for managers and multipliers enable specialists from the work programme to pass on their expertise in MSD prevention.
  • Specialist events, exhibitions and congresses: Such events offer people responsible for OSH in companies an opportunity to talk to experts about MSDs. The MSD portal offers information on events currently planned.

Prevention culture and health skills

The work programme focuses on two approaches for effectively reducing MSDs: the development of a prevention culture in companies – i.e. the design of optimized workplaces; and health skills – i.e. the promotion of appropriate behaviour on the part of employees.

Kindergarten worker and children Source: DGUV

In a bid to strengthen this prevention culture, the work programme helps to ensure that

  • more companies are equipped with ergonomically optimised workplaces, workstations and work procedures,
  • more companies operate a system of workplace health management,
  • work organisation and management competence in companies are improved with a view to preventing MSDs,
  • more and improved risk assessments for physical and mental stress are carried out,
  • the number of preventive health checks is increased where there are high levels of strain on the musculoskeletal system.

At the same time more employees should benefit from company-supported MSD prevention measures in order to improve their health skills.


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