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Let’s talk about manual handling in the construction industry. It’s a basic part of the job, but it comes with serious health risks that need urgent attention.

Despite efforts to improve things with better design and new equipment, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are still alarmingly common.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported in 2023 that 53% of all work-related ill health days in construction are due to MSDs. That’s over half of the sick days lost, showing just how big this problem is and how much we need effective solutions to protect workers.

The economic impact is just as concerning. According to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in 2018, occupational ill-health costs UK construction employers about £848 million every year. And get this: 76% of that cost is due to MSDs. That’s around £12,000 for each case, covering everything from treatment and compensation to lost productivity and hiring temporary staff.

These numbers make it clear that MSDs are not just a health issue but also a huge financial burden on the industry.

The construction industry has made great progress in focusing on health issues, especially mental health. But now it’s time to give musculoskeletal health the same attention. We need strong strategies to prevent and manage MSDs effectively.

One way to tackle this is by adopting innovative technologies and practices. For example, the recent collaboration between GKR Scaffolding and Soter shows how AI and advanced solutions can significantly improve worker safety and health. Find out more by watching our webinar HERE and downloading our checklist HERE.

In short, the UK construction industry has to do more to address musculoskeletal disorders.

A healthier, happier workforce is not just good for the workers—it’s essential for the future of the industry. Let’s make it happen.

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