The scope of the problem

Problems of employees connected with musculoskeletal system ailments concern all member states of the European Union to a similar degree. Each day in Europe 22% of employees complain of pains in spine and 22% – of muscle pains.

In the new member states these ailments appear even more frequently – 39% and 36% respectively. About 15% of disability to work cases are connected with spine ailments, while 50% of earlier retirements in Europe is caused by pathological spine changes. Musculoskeletal ailments cause suffering, disability to work and the loss of employees’ incomes borne by the employers and national economies.

The European information-control campaign “Manual handling of loads 2008” concentrated on the trade and building engineering sectors and is a continuation of actions taken up in 2007 in transport and health protection sectors.

Extending the campaign on new branches, in which problems connected with manual transport are extremely complex and concern very many employees, is to boost the awareness of threats among employers and employees and, no less importantly, cause wider implementation of the so called good practices in the field of eliminating or considerably reducing manual handling of loads on the territory of the European Union wherever possible.

To attain this goal, trainings and inspections will be organised and educational materials will be distributed. The examples of good practices in curbing manual transport works and KIM and MAC tools serving the assessment of professional risk connected with that activity recommended by the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee, will be broadly propagated during the trainings and inspections. Used also will be materials of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao concerning professional risk assessment. Throughout the duration of the campaign, both the employers and the employees will be able to take advantage of free aid of national inspectorates concerning proper organisation of labour, performing transport works or carrying out professional risk assessment.