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Health & Safety - working conditions

29 June 2017

The ETUC calls the European Union to tackle work-related musculoskeletal disorders

On 27 June, the European Trade Union Confederation has launched under the banner “Work shouldn't hurt” a call to the European union to address more seriously musculoskeletal disorders.

Back, neck and shoulder pain (alongside pain in other joints such as hands, elbows and knees) - known collectively as musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs – are the most common work-related disease in Europe.

European Directives put obligations on employers to prevent such disorders. In 2007, the European Commission ran a consultation on possible health and safety actions, including new legislation. Progress was suspended pending a review of the EU OSH legislation in 2014-15.

“Nothing has happened since: no further action has been taken”, regrets the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). “The EU needs to act to enforce existing legislation and if necessary take new measures to end the costly plague of back, neck and shoulder pain. What is needed is proper risk assessment and involvement of workers and their safety reps in all workplaces”, said Esther Lynch, the ETUC confederal secretary in charge of health and safety at work.

To support workers and trade union health and safety reps to take up issues related to MSDs, the ETUC asked the ETUI to put together infographic posters.

The call and posters were launched at the conference on Ergonomics, held in Brussels on 26 and 27 June.

Further reading:

ETUC: Work shouldn't hurt, 27 June 2017

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