Event Report: Musculoskeletal best practice shared amongst Cambridgeshire employers

Over 1 million people are affected by musculoskeletal issues in the UK with a cost to society of £5.7 billion. So on Friday 14th of February, Cambridgeshire employers were given the opportunity by BITC to get an insight into how to tackle this top cause of workplace ill health by hearing from NHS/Public Health experts and occupational health specialist Hampton Knight.

Musculoskeletal issues are set to grow due to the UK population becoming increasingly obese; by 2015, the Foresight report estimates that 32% adults will be obese, by 2025 it is estimated that 42% of adults will be obese.

Delegates heard from Sophie Drake, Graduate sports therapist at Papworth Hospital NHS foundation trust, who explained to delegates the support on offer to employees through their own Occupational Health Musculoskeletal Clinic. Sophie shared the clinic's statistics, and outlined the impact of early intervention on employees. Rolf Stobbart of Peterborough City Hospital then shared the challenge of the growing obesity issue in the workplace and the impact that stretching and lifting has on musculoskeletal issues.

Hampton Knights Occupational Health Manager Julie Routledge gave a business case study outlining how their organisation had worked with a Peterborough employer to reduce musculoskeletal issues through a variety of preventative measures and adjustments to their staff's  work pattern. The event was run by BITC as part of their Business Action on Public Health project, in partnership with Public Health teams across the East of England.

Advice given to employers:

  • Keep up to date with manual handling

  • Good communication

  • Speak up if there is a problem

  • Risk assess all tasks – TILE

  • Avoid manual handling if able – use equipment

  • Maintain posture

  • Bend your knees, using your legs not your back

  • Look after yourself – eat well, exercise, manage stress levels

  • Think about your footwear, clothing

  • Highlight problems as early as possible even if you feel they are insignificant!

See below for the presentations given at the event.