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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs): identifying and preventing risks for women, migrant and LGBTI work

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs): identifying anEurope’s workforce is increasingly diverse, with a higher participation of specific groups of workers as women, migrant and LGBTI workers in the labour market.

Issued by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), this information sheet highlights that these groups are exposed to particular risks more than other workers. These risks, including harassment, job insecurity and low pay, are associated with an increased likelihood of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Taking account of gender and diversity issues in risk assessment is key to healthy and productive workplaces. The information sheet provides examples of initiatives and company practices aimed at preventing MSD-related risks among these groups of workers.

Women report work-related health issues and experience poorer general health more frequently than men. Data from the 2015 European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) show that 60 % of women workers in the EU reported one or more MSD (56 % of men).

Migrant workers report poorer health, including infectious and metabolic cardiovascular diseases, mental health issues and a higher prevalence of MSDs, as well as more accidents at work and work-related injuries, than the general workforce.

LGBTI workers are at higher risk of poor mental and physical health than the general population, with an increased prevalence of long-term health problems, including MSDs, arthritis, spinal problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and self-harm, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The information sheet looks at these three groups in detail. It is available here.

Presentation: Workforce Diversity and Musculoskeletal Disorders

EU-OSHA has also issued a presentation focusing on these three groups of workers. It provides examples of practice, policy initiatives, and prevention measures to reduce their occupational risk and improve their working conditions.

Specifically, the presentation looks further at:

  • Exposure to work-related health risk factors.

  • Prevalence of general health problems and MSDs.

  • Examples of practice and policy initiatives.

  • Policy pointers.

The full presentation is available here.

EU-OSHA October 2021


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