Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the:

  • upper limbs
  • lower limbs
  • back

Upper limb disorders (ULDs)

Upper limb disorders (ULDs) affect the arms from the shoulder to fingers or the neck and include problems with soft tissues, muscles, tendons and ligaments; together with circulatory and nerve supply to each of the upper limbs. ULDs generally occur as a result of:

  • poor posture
  • working in awkward spaces
  • lifting, carrying or pushing heavy items

Duty of care to protect against upper limb disorders (ULDs)

Employers have a duty to reasonably protect their employees from harm and ULDs can be reduced by ensuring that manual workers have:

  • access to appropriate mechanical aids
  • are rotated with other employees in order to ensure that the time spent carrying out a ‘risky’ task is reduced
  • regular breaks
  • appropriate seating
  • work stations are regularly assessed to identify and address any issues

The relevant legal duties are covered under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974; the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999; and the Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.

Lower limb disorders (LLDs)

Lower limb disorders (LLDs) at work affect the hips, knees, legs and toes and usually occur as a result of overuse. Common risk factors at work include:

  • repetitive kneeling or squatting actions
  • fixed postures such as standing in a certain position for more than two hours without a break
  • frequently jumping from a height

Research suggests that there are many recognised diseases of the lower limbs that are associated with working conditions such as:

Duty of care to protect against lower limb disorders (LLDs)

Employers are under a duty to manage the risk of lower limb disorders in the workplace by providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), mechanical aids, training and safe working practices.

Back pain is a common work related condition and employers are under a duty to reduce the risk of back pain in the workplace. Risks can be reduced by regular work assessments, providing mechanical aids, personal protective equipment (PPE) and manual handling training. High-risk occupations and environments where employees are mostly exposed to developing back pain include:

Contact us

If you have sustained a musculoskeletal disorder as a result of your work environment and your employer failed to take reasonable steps to protect you then you may be able to bring a claim for compensation. Please feel free to call our accident at work and trade union lawyers on Freephone 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no-obligation chat. Alternatively, you can complete the request a call back form and we will call you.