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Int J Occup Environ Health. 1996 Jul;2(3):239-246.

Musculoskeletal Disorders: Work-related Risk Factors and Prevention.

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National Institute for Working Life, 171 84 Solna, Sweden.


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders cause chronic pain and functional impairment, impose heavy costs on society, and reduce productivity. In this position paper from the Scientific Committee for Musculoskeletal Disorders of the ICOH, the most important risk factors at work are described. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders have high incidences and prevalences among workers who are exposed to manual handling, repetitive and static work, vibrations, and poor psychological and social conditions. The application of ergonomic principles in the workplace is the best method for prevention. International organizations should develop standards, common classifications, and terminologies. Surveillance systems should be further developed nationally and in workplaces, and more effort should be directed to information dissemination, education, and training.


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