In the performance of work, too much physical stress, such as heavy lifting and carrying, causes musculoskeletal complaints. Here, the causes, prevention and costs of musculoskeletal disorders are highlighted.
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system, the so-called support and movement system, belong to the group of musculoskeletal disease. In the case of musculoskeletal disease, all regions may be affected, such as ligaments, blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, bones, etc. This collective term also includes all types of health impairments, ranging from minor and temporary complaints to severe chronic, irreversible impairments.
Physical stress: Causes and long-term damage of musculoskeletal disorders
Physical stress as a trigger for musculoskeletal disorders
In the working world and in private life, there are many reasons for sickness incapacity. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders occur primarily due to physical stress at work. The lifting and carrying of heavy loads is considered a typical process, resulting in incorrect strain on the musculoskeletal system.
Disease patterns caused by degenerative disease of the back or osteoarthritis of the knee joint generally lead to a restriction of motor skills such as strength, coordination and mobility. With these limitations, physical stress at work, such as lifting and carrying loads, cannot be performed or can only be performed to a limited extent. The term "work-related musculoskeletal disorder" covers diseases and complaints of the musculoskeletal system or the musculoskeletal system that occur in connection with occupational activity and as a result of physical stress.
Musculoskeletal disorders and physical stress: Physical stress – prevention options
Possible actions in the context of work-related health management
The possibilities for prevention of a musculoskeletal disorder, due to a physical stress, are numerous. Advice and training are just as much a part of this as workplace-related measures.
Prevention options for musculoskeletal disorder:
work-related musculoskeletal disorders (directly caused by work)
musculoskeletal disorders caused by work with
Employees who – irrespective of the cause – perform their work with a musculoskeletal disorder
Primary, secondary and tertiary preventive approaches are available in addition to behavioral and relational preventive concepts, which can be used in the context of work-related health management.
Physical stress: prevention of musculoskeletal disorders
Derivation of workplace-related, company-related and employment-related measures
Health-conscious design of the work situation – ergonomics, carry out a comprehensive risk analysis to identify and evaluate the stress (physical load) on the musculoskeletal system, including the derivation of workplace-related, company-related and employment-related measures.
Targeted consultation, education, instruction and training of employees in work conditions where musculoskeletal stresses and eventually musculoskeletal disease may occur.
Personal care of employees with a focus on the musculoskeletal system as well as for early detection of individual risk factors such as unhealthy diet and exercise, for example in the context of occupational health care; application of (occupational) reintegration measures.
Tailored individual offers to promote health, such as e.B. Training programs (including health education approaches)
Company integration programs; employment concepts for older and chronically ill people
Design and development of participative social relations in the company; employee management
Regardless of integration and rehabilitation measures: Employees with a musculoskeletal disorder are often unable to return to their previous jobs. In addition, for employees with a musculoskeletal disorder, medical reintegration is available. Focus on workplace integration after prolonged illness. However, approximately 2,000 recognized work-related illnesses and now regularly over ten percent early retirement in the course of a musculoskeletal illness point to the limits of these measures every year. If occupational reintegration is not possible at all or only possible to a limited extent, the compensation procedure comes to the fore.
Physical stress: failure of (re)integration and compensation for musculoskeletal disorders
There is a large number of significant and already known causal relationships between occupational (physical) stress and the resulting possible musculoskeletal disorders.
Based on the BKV or the list of occupational diseases, an employer has the opportunity to identify the exposures where initiatives to prevent musculoskeletal disease are particularly appropriate.
Physical stress: diseases to recognized occupational diseases
The Medical Expert Council "Occupational Diseases" is responsible for the entry of diseases in the catalog of occupational diseases. The Medical Expert Advisory Board is an advisory body that works without instructions and advises the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) on decision-making in medical-scientific matters. In this context, the Advisory Council reviews and evaluates the state of scientific knowledge, on the one hand, in connection with the adaptation of existing occupational diseases and, on the other hand, with the aim of integrating new occupational diseases into the regulation on occupational diseases. On the basis of the available research results, the Council of Experts submits corresponding proposals for action and positions to the Ministry following the study.