Authors: Sabina Mataln, Marjeta Mirkac, Nejc Planinc, Gregor Roj, Urska Šajnovic, Alenka Škerjanc
The work-related musculoskeletal disorders are disorders to which environment and performance of work significantly contribute. They refer to disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and intervertebral discs. Ergonomic work-related factors pose a risk of musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic recommendations are used to alleviate them.
The objective of this paper is to help trainees and specialists in occupational medicine to assess ergonomic risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders with the aim to prevent work-related diseases. Literature on ergonomics and work-related musculoskeletal disorders was reviewed in order to assess and eliminate work-related factors that pose a significant risk. The literature review suggests that proactive approach to the reduction of work-related musculoskeletal disorders is extremely important. However, in Europe, there are neither uniform methodological guidelines nor criteria for recognition of musculoskeletal disorders as occupational diseases. Moreover, related bonuses such as reimbursement, vocational rehabilitation or workplace adjustments have not been standardized yet, either. Over the past two decades the efforts to reduce musculoskeletal disorders in European countries have not led to encouraging results yet. It is expected that by implementing proactive ergonomic programmes in the work environment, a large part of the working population could be involved in the reduction of musculoskeletal disorders. A unified reporting system should be introduced to monitor and compare the effects of interventions.