Understanding the evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 on work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Young woman suffering from back pain in office

Photo by New Africa/AdobeStock

What is the issue?

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) are injuries and conditions that are caused or made worse by work, and can affect the back, joints and limbs. They account for 30 per cent of all work-related ill-health and result in more than 8 million lost working days each year. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of self-reported WRMSDs showed a generally downward trend. However, the COVID-19 pandemic required rapid changes to working practices and environments at the individual, organisational and national levels to protect people from infection. These changes may have affected exposure to known WRMSD risk factors, and some of the changes to working practices and environments may become permanent.

How are we helping?

To investigate these issues, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) commissioned RAND Europe to undertake a rapid evidence assessment (REA) and stakeholder consultation. This work aims to understand the changing world of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, the effect on WRMSDs and post-pandemic considerations for WRMSDs.