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24 Jan 2022

Prevent musculoskeletal injuries with benefits for staff working from home

Many employers have implemented, or have started to bring in, changes in the workplace to help prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Some are simple changes like ergonomics, replacing static desks with adjustable height desks so that employees don’t have to sit for hours on end, or providing automated lifting devices or trolleys for moving heavy objects.

 

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The risks linked with lifting heavy objects are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to MSDs and they can happen in any workplace. Whether it’s a warehouse or high street shop or office, different types of MSDs can occur. UK government health and safety statistics report that 480,000 workers in 2019/20 were suffering from new or longstanding MSDs, which resulted in an astonishing 8.9 million lost working days. That’s not only a lot of suffering for employees, but also a lot of time lost for businesses.

The report also said that “manual handling, awkward or tiring positions and keyboard work or repetitive action are estimated to be the main causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders based on 2009/10-2011/12 LFS data.” This not only points towards computer work as a main culprit, but also what we do outside of work to relax (eg watch tv, use mobile devices).

Work benefits that tackle musculoskeletal disorders

The actions taken by businesses don’t address the full problem that employers and employees face. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many employees have been forced to work from home, relying on their own, sometimes outdated, equipment. For example, many will not have that adjustable height desk or a comfortable ergonomic chair. Added to this, company benefits such as in-house gyms or relaxation rooms and table tennis aren’t being used during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So, what’s the solution? Offering health/home office equipment benefits. Through something as simple as an app, it’s now easy for employees to order office furniture for the home, and a whole host of other healthcare benefits including massage and yoga. These  benefits have become increasingly important during the pandemic.

Healthcare benefits are considered most important among Swedes, followed by the Dutch and French, according to Benify’s Future of Work reportEmployee Benefits and Work Trends in Europe. At the other end of the scale, interest in healthcare benefits is lowest in the UK. Could this be because, according to a report by Nuffield Trust and Kings Fund, 60% of Brits say they are satisfied with NHS and find it adequate for their needs?

Companies have already started to highlight the need for creating home office spaces that mimic the real office to cut down on potential MSD injuries. For example, during the pandemic, some companies provided its work-at-home employees with a home office allowance, which they could use to purchase home office equipment, such as desks, lamps, or chairs.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has a campaign called Lighten the Load 2020-2022, which highlights the risks of MSD injuries and provides guides to help prevent them. There are also simple exercises that employees can follow to help them avoid musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.

In Benify’s study of 39,000 employees around Europe, 43% of UK participants said benefits adapted to working from home were the most important to them. Download the Future of Work Report: Employee Benefits and Work Trends in Europe

This article was supplied by Benify.

View the original article: Preventing injury with healthy work benefits.

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