This is the subject of a recent Discussion Paper published by EU-OSHA. In it, the authors analyse the effect of psychosocial risks when an employee returns to work after a period of leave in the event of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In particular, they define good practices for a successful return to work, with examples.
MSDs are one of the most frequently reported health problems in the world. They are associated with individual and socio-demographic factors and work-related hazards, whether physical (biomechanical), organisational or psychosocial. High job demands, low level of social support from superiors or colleagues, low level of control over work, high work intensity, work-life conflict, high mental workload, lack of decision-making power, lack of recognition of work done, lack of interpersonal relationships at work or social support, discrimination, harassment and bullying are all factors that can cause stress reactions in workers and thus lead to psychological and physical damage.
The authors then list the relevant aspects to ensure a successful return to work for workers with MSDs. A second table focuses on aspects relevant to workers: rights and duties in occupational health and safety management; self-management of health problems; confidence and willingness to talk; a positive attitude towards returning to work and the changes it entails; active participation…
Maintaining the musculoskeletal health of workers throughout their working lives is important for both individuals and organisations. The aim is to ensure that they are healthier, take less sick leave, maintain their working capacity and stay longer in their jobs. Better health and quality of life extends well beyond the working years. Promoting, maintaining and restoring musculoskeletal health is a win-win situation.