Musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace

MSDs are the most common occupational disease in France. In 2019, musculoskeletal disorders represent 88% of occupational diseases with 44,492 cases and in particular an increase in MSDs of 2.3% compared to 2018.

Table 57 of the general safety regime alone represents more than 3/4 of recognized occupational diseases.

While the financial cost is significant for businesses, the consequences of MSDs go far beyond. Resulting in pain that can become disabling and lead to incapacity for work, they threaten the very activity of companies.

Definition of MSDs

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) group together conditions affecting structures located at the periphery of the joints: muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, bursa, joint capsules, vessels, etc.

The most frequently affected parts of the body are: the back, the upper limbs (wrist, shoulder, elbow), more rarely the lower limbs (knee).

For example, squatting, as well as heavy handling, can lead to osteoarthritis of the knee. The prolonged sitting posture promotes the occurrence of MSDs of the upper limbs and back.

MSDs mainly result in pain and functional discomfort of varying degrees of importance and have multiple causes, but professional activity frequently plays a role in their occurrence, maintenance or aggravation.

Frequent MSDs

Risk factors

MSDs have a significant impact on business performance. They can be viewed as visible symptoms of multifactorial causes and reasons which, for their part, remain most often "hidden".

The causes are not visible for 2 reasons:

  • They are at the origin of the observed problem, upstream chronologically;
  • They hide the desired goals (the employee protects himself and avoids confronting what puts him in difficulty).

Very often, cascading effects follow one another until the visible localized effect (sick leave, work accident, burn-out, shoulder tendonitis, etc.). This incident may be distant and in time and geographically from the cause of the problem.

Consequences for companies

  • 30 % of work stoppages are caused by an MSD
  • The duration of a work stoppage due to a back accident is on average 2 months
  • 2 billion euros half of which is related to back pain
  • 22 million days of work lost due to MSDs and back pain

MSDs recognized as an industrial accident or occupational disease have an impact on the increase in the company's contribution rate.

In addition to this direct cost, there are the costs of replacing absent employees and lower productivity.

This is why it is important to act collectively at work on the factors favoring MSDs.

Prevention of MSDs at work requires the involvement of company stakeholders (employer, employees, staff representatives, occupational health services) and, sometimes, occupational risk prevention services

Actions can relate to:

  • Organization of work : intensity and complexity of the work, working time, autonomy, versatility, reduction in the repetition of gestures ...
  • The work environment : physical environments, layout of the workspace, materials and equipment to reduce vibrations, adaptation of tools, etc.
  • Professional social relations : between colleagues and with his superiors
  • The meaning of work and the insecurity of the work situation : ethical conflicts, meaning at work, formulation of clear objectives, development prospects, knowledge and understanding of the strategy followed ...

The benefits of a global HR approach

GAC positions itself as a global business partner. We support our clients to enable them to find the overall project scheduling methods most suited to their context, their culture and their constraints.

Investing in absenteeism, turnover, RPS and / or MSD subjects in the co-construction of the approach with the actors concerned has other advantages than the commitment of the teams.

In particular, it makes it possible to:

  • Better become internally aware of the direct costs incurred: salary maintenance, replacement costs, etc. and indirect : loss of customers, deterioration of the social climate and the image of the company, drop in productivity, etc.
  • Unite employees on a project that becomes that of the organization
  • Meet your legal obligations employer to ensure the safety and protect the physical and mental health of its employees
  • Optimize time by working on a subject with a view to acting on others as well.


To not miss any news on this subject, do not hesitate to subscribe to our HR Newsletter.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Articles in Relationship

Le Crédit Impôt Recherche allemand : la nouvelle prime fiscale à la R&D

The German Research Tax Credit: the new R&D tax premium! October 1, 2021

Take part in our webinar which will take place on Friday October 1, 2021 from 11:30 am Since March 2021, Germany has fully implemented the new tax bonus system for industrial R&D. With this new funding program, the German government has set itself an ambitious goal of supporting innovation with a budget

The 8th edition of the competition opened on July 29, 2021 and will close on October 5, 2021. The i-Nov Innovation Competition is funded by the State via the Future Investments Program (PIA) and operated by Bpifrance and l & #039; ADEME.

[REPLAY WEBINAR] Innovation competition: Maximize your chances of success!

The i-Nov Innovation Competition is funded by the State via the Future Investments Program (PIA) and operated by Bpifrance and ADEME. It supports the accelerated emergence of companies (start-ups and SMEs) with the potential to become world-class leaders in their field. For the winners, this is an opportunity to obtain co-financing (up to 45%) of their

Financing adapted to the resumption of growth

Financing adapted to restarting growth [White Paper]

“In order to promote the development and sustainable growth of companies, many levers exist to accelerate their innovative projects. In this white paper, you will discover how to reconcile tax systems to support innovation, public aid and subsidies and sources of private funding and how these levers can be articulated to bring out your projects,

Keep in touch !Subscribe to the newsletter


* Please fill in the required fields.

In accordance with the provisions of the regulations on the protection of personal data, GAC, as data controller, processes your data in order to respond to your request related to GAC products and services.
In accordance with the regulations in force, you have the right to access, rectify, delete and oppose your personal data. You can assert these rights by contacting our DPO at: and by proving your identity. You can also lodge a complaint with the CNIL. Learn more.

Scroll to Top