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Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most prevalent and overlooked health and safety hazard within the construction industry, with the most commonly reported cause of ill health and sickness absence. Each year around 80,000 construction workers suffer from an illness they believe was caused or made worse by their work and over 50,000 of these were reported as MSDs.


MSDs are often a work related ill health condition that places significant burdens on employees, but also their employers, accounting for 39% of all work-related ill-health.

The impact can vary, but often they have a huge impact on construction colleagues and their ability to undertake their role safely.  MSDs also impact on our colleagues quality of life beyond the construction site, both from a physical and psychological perspective.

MSD Statistics


HSE statistics show that in 2021/22, 477,000 workers suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders, This accounts for 7.3 million working days lost due to work-related MSDs.

Does the construction industry accept it’s higher rates of  MSDs due to the physical nature of working in that industry.? Plasterers, bricklayers and joiners are trades frequently cited within construction at high risk and are often needing to retire or change jobs early. (EU –OSHA, 2015).  All of these work-related MSDs are totally preventable with the right planning, aids and training.

The HCLG MSD working group recognises that working collaboratively is imperative in supporting the understanding of MSDs and their prevention.   A united industry approach is an exciting opportunity ahead of us, showing joined up leadership which is meaningful and ultimately changes behaviours and protects our construction colleagues from harm.

See HSE research report into MSDs in Construction, Healthcare and Transportation. 

HCLG MSD Working Group Action Plan:


We aim to work collaboratively with the wider industry to raise awareness and standards in preventative approaches to MSDs, sharing material, good practice and guidance to support our industry in taking action on their sites and projects.

Our current action plan is to produce an MSD campaign pack which can be used across the industry and adapted to the needs of the site/project/contractor.


The pack will include:

  1. A campaign launch video

  2. Ergonomic/MSD e-learning modules

  3. Poster/s

  4. Further campaign material

MSD Fact:

Every year, 50,000 construction workers suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder caused by their work.

Case Studies & Guidance

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