Work strain injury victims are being let down
A lack of positive practices to support people with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in work is leaving hundreds of thousands at risk of lost earnings, reduced productive working time and early retirement. A new study says this is also placing a strain on both household incomes and the UK welfare system. The findings, in a new report published by The Work Foundation, reveal that musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of people going onto Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Taking the strain: the impact of musculoskeletal disorders on work and home life’ draws on a survey 809 people living with MSDs in the UK. It found just over half of employed respondents reported a loss of earnings due to the condition. Threequarters of retired respondents said their condition had influenced their decision to retire, with the majority having left the labour market before reaching the age of 55. Of those not in work, 57.4 per cent had been the primary earner for their household before leaving a paid job. And one in four respondents reported concerns about remaining in work due to their condition.
Ailsa Bosworth, chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, said: ‘The government’s reforms are supposed to help people with long-term conditions return to work, but this survey shows people with MSDs aren’t receiving the support they need. This needs a concerted effort across government departments to incentivise the NHS to get more involved in helping patients stay in work, so that patients and their families keep their heads above water.’ The study raised concerns about employers reluctance to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of employees with MSDs. It found one in three respondents reported there had been no adjustment to their working time, work environment, or work duties when they required it.
Karen Jackson, director of Roberts Jackson Solicitors has said “Musculoskeletal problems are on the increase at work. According to a survey commissioned by the health and safety executive this year the majority of reported conditions at work are musculoskeletal mainly back and upper limb problems. At Roberts Jackson we deal with new enquiries daily, providing people with free legal advice and assistance who may be suffering from bad backs through heavy lifting, manual work, bad posture or with RSI or shoulder problems. Many people don’t think they can claim for an illness, condition or disease but they can claim for these conditions if caused or worsened by work. We specialise in this field. This is what we are known for within the UK”