The Health and Safety Executive’s guidance document INDG171 – managing upper limb disorders in the workplace has been updated.
This guidance is aimed at employers and deals with upper limb disorders (ULDs) affecting the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, fingers and neck. ULDs are more common in tasks that involve:
- prolonged repetitive work, particularly using the same hand or arm action
- uncomfortable or awkward working postures
- sustained or excessive force
- carrying out a task for a long time without suitable rest breaks
- working with hand-held power tools for long periods of time.
Other things that may have an influence are poor working environment, poor work organisation and individual differences and vulnerability. Employers have general duties to assess, control and manage the risks associated with work-related ULDs, which this guidance helps employers to comply with. To assess risks in the workplace, employers should:
- look around the workplace to see which tasks may cause harm and why
- decide how likely it is that people might be harmed
- identify the factors that create a risk of harm and decide how to control them.
In this latest update, a filter has been included to help identify tasks which are low-risk and do not require further assessment, and identify jobs that are worth looking at in more detail.