Information on the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) work programme developed by the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy
According to the Robert Koch Institute, four out of five Germans suffer from musculoskeletal disorders at least once in their lives. In most cases, the pain is caused by cramped or tense muscles; in other words, pain is not caused by age-related wear or injuries to the spine but by incorrect, too much or too little strain; muscles that are not sufficiently exercised; stress; mental stress; and/or too little physical activity. The same applies to other muscle and joint pain.
Disorders of the musculoskeletal system cause affected persons pain; they also put a strain on the workplace: around 27 percent of working days lost due to sick leave can be traced back to musculoskeletal disorders.
This is precisely where the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) work programme comes into play. The programme aims to ensure that stakeholders within the companies are fully informed and qualified, including entrepreneurs, managers, staff representatives as well as the persons responsible for occupational health and safety, and to thus reduce work-related musculoskeletal health risks and disorders. To achieve this goal, the programme focuses its activities on areas with a particularly high risk of MSD: risk-related tasks such as lifting and carrying heavy loads, repetitive work sequences and lack of exercise.
Since autumn 2014, inspectors with the occupational health and safety authorities and accident insurance institutions have conducted coordinated site inspections. In the course of these, inspectors provide companies with information and recommendations to support and advise them on how to maintain the health of their employees. Inspections focus on industries and professions most frequently affected by MSD; by 2017, supervisory agencies will have visited approx. 16,000 companies.