European good practices to help cut workplace illness for millions

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants awarded via the programme of Community action of public health

Nine organisations have been honoured with a European Good Practice Award for helping to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – the most common form of work-related illness in Europe

Across the EU, 25% of workers complain of backache and 23% report muscular pains. The winners were announced at the closing event of the ‘Lighten the Load’ campaign, organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). The Agency also presented a new report setting out the latest scientific evidence on the issue.

The ‘Lighten the Load’ campaign aimed to promote an integrated approach to tackling MSDs while also helping workers affected by them continue in work. It complements the EU’s new strategy for health and safety at work (2007–2012) which targets occupational ill health and aims to cut by a quarter work-related accidents across the EU.

More than 500 delegates, including European Union policy-makers, social partners and leading safety and health experts, gathered at the Euskalduna Conference Centre in Bilbao, Spain on 26 February. The summit was the culmination of the ‘Lighten the Load’ campaign, which promoted an integrated management approach to tackling MSDs, embracing prevention and the retention, rehabilitation and reintegration of workers. In 2007, several hundred events were organised by EU-OSHA, its focal point network and other organisations across Europe.

At the summit, the delegates attended three parallel workshops on statistics, MSD prevention in the workplace and reintegration of workers with MSDs. Afterwards, nine organisations from six EU Member States received the European Good Practice Awards; an additional 11 entries were commended.

Among the winners were projects that

- Eliminated MSD problems experienced by handling heavy wooden pallets;
- Developed an ergonomically designed sewing workstation;
- Introduced a load moving system to reduce manual handling in a greenhouse.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

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