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  • Kyle Durward

Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the early years workforce

In response to increasing intelligence about the high incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affecting workers in the early years sector, HSE initiated the formation of a working group with interested stakeholders and employee representatives to explore the evidence and provide sector guidance.


In addition to RIDDOR reported injuries resulting from specific accidents, it is clear that many workers in the sector experience non-reportable back, knee, neck and shoulder pain as a result of frequent, cumulative exposure to musculoskeletal hazards e.g. repetitive lifting.

The high prevalence of MSDs in the sector appear to be linked to workers having to adopt awkward postures and using furniture and equipment (e.g. chairs and desks) designed to meet the ergonomic needs of young children, to facilitate engagement with young children at their own level.

The working group has developed and published guidance on the Awareness and Prevention of Back Pain and other Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Early Years Workforce, hosted on the Early Years Alliance website and available free of charge.

Further research is being carried out by Derby University and additional information is available using the above link.

It is hoped that the information from this project will be used to inform the future curriculum, support the development of suitable training for workers in the early years sector and to help embed an understanding of the issues and measures that are effective in preventing injury and ill health.

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