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Executive Summary of HSE Work-Related MSDs Statistics 2023

The 2023 HSE Report on Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Great Britain shows 473,000 workers affected and 6.6 million working days lost in 2022/23. These disorders represented 27% of all work-related ill health cases. Prevalence was higher in administrative, construction, and health and social work sectors, and particularly affected older workers and those in small workplaces. Common causes included manual handling, awkward positions, and repetitive actions, with heavy lifting noted as a significant factor. This underscores the need for ongoing prevention and management in the workplace.

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Executive Summary: Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Statistics in Great Britain, 2023

This article provides a comprehensive summary of the key findings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report on work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Great Britain for the year 2023. The report presents a detailed analysis of the prevalence, causes, and impacts of these disorders, with data sourced primarily from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

1. 473,000 Workers Suffered from Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in 2022/23

The HSE report reveals that an estimated 473,000 workers suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2022/23, which equates to a prevalence rate of 1,400 per 100,000 workers (Source: LFS, annual estimate, 2022/23).

2. 6.6 Million Working Days Lost Due to Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in 2022/23

The impact of these disorders on productivity is significant, with a total of 6.6 million working days lost in 2022/23. This equates to an average of 13.9 days lost per case (Source: LFS, annual estimate, 2022/23).

3. Musculoskeletal Disorders Accounted for 27% of All Work-Related Ill Health Cases

In 2022/23, musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 27% of all work-related ill health cases and 21% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health (Source: LFS, annual estimate, 2022/23).

4. The Rate of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Showed a Generally Downward Trend Prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The rate of self-reported work-related musculoskeletal disorders showed a generally downward trend before the coronavirus pandemic. However, the current rate is similar to the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus level (Source: LFS, annual estimate, from 2001/02 to 2022/23).

5. Administrative and Support Service Activities, Construction, and Human Health and Social Work Activities are the Most Prevalent Industries

These industries had significantly higher rates of musculoskeletal disorders than the average for all industries (Source: LFS, average estimate over 2020/21-2022/23).

6. Skilled Trades Occupations, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives, and Caring, Leisure and Other Service Occupations had Higher Rates of Musculoskeletal Disorders

These occupations had statistically significantly higher rates of work-related musculoskeletal disorders compared to the rate for all occupational groups (Source: LFS, average estimate over 2020/21-2022/23).

7. Males and Females Aged 45 and Above had Significantly Higher Rates of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Compared to all workers, males and females aged 45 and above had significantly higher rates of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (Source: LFS, average estimate over 2020/21-2022/23).

8. Small Workplaces had a Statistically Significantly Higher Rate of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Compared with the rate of all workplace sizes, small workplaces had a statistically significantly higher rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (Source: LFS, average estimate over 2020/21-2022/23).

9. Manual Handling, Working in Awkward or Tiring Positions, and Repetitive Action/Keyboard Work were the Main Causes of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

The main causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey, were manual handling, working in awkward or tiring positions, and repetitive action/keyboard work (Source: LFS, average estimate over 2009/10-2011/12).

10. General Practitioners Identified Heavy Lifting as the Predominant Factor Causing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

The general practitioner’s network (THOR-GP) identified work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases by the main task contributing to the condition. These medically assessed cases indicate a similar pattern to self-reported data from the Labour Force Survey, with heavy lifting as the predominant factor (Source: THOR-GP, average estimate over 2013-2015).

Conclusion

The HSE report provides valuable insights into the prevalence and impact of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Great Britain. The findings highlight the significant burden these disorders place on workers and workplaces, and the need for continued efforts to prevent and manage these conditions.

Author

Richard O'Connor's Headshot

Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

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