The latest figures released by the Health and Safety Executive have revealed a small reduction in work-related musculoskeletal disorders for 2019/2020 with construction, agriculture and forestry industries reporting higher than average rates.
The rate of self-reported work-related ill health has been broadly flat in recent years, although 2019/20 has seen above recent rates with 111 fatal injuries being recorded by RIDDOR over the last 12 months. The figures suggest a number of key industries still have more work to do in order to safeguard employees from accidents and injury, says materials handling firm, Midland Pallet Trucks.
Although a generally downward trend has been recorded, the number of days lost due to short and long term musculoskeletal disorders stands at 8.9 million with 480,000 workers being affected. These figures have a clear detrimental economic impact for industries that have already suffered losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the data, manual handling, awkward or tiring positions and keyboard work or repetitive action are estimated to be the main causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and have contributed to the £16.2 billion cost of work-related injury and ill health over the past 12 months.
Midland Pallet Trucks, a provider of high-quality lifting equipment including pallet trucks, manual stacker trucks and lift tables, is urging industry managers to assess their equipment during this unprecedented time to cut down on longer term costs.
With much of the warehousing industry seeing a significant shortfall in the availability of experienced warehousing staff, Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of Midland Pallet Trucks, is warning that the figures for 2020/2021 could be even higher as teams battle to deal with a surge in online demand as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
He said, “Although work-related musculoskeletal disorders have seen a small overall downward trajectory since last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed even further strain on an industry that already sees its fair share of injuries caused by lifting.
“By ensuring that warehousing workers have access to well maintained, high-quality lift equipment during this period, warehouse managers can play their part in helping to reduce the risk of a dramatic increase in work-related musculoskeletal disorders over the next year and help keep up with the upturn in demand safely.”