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Muscles bones and joints

How to prevent common injuries to muscles, bones and joints

​​​​​​​​​​​​Healt​hy muscles bones and joints are important to a fit active lifestyle and a safe and secure working life. To protect these from injury and illness such as back pain or repetitive strain symptoms you could adopt safe working practices, understand risks and responsibilities and spot patterns or trends in workplace incidents, accidents or absence.

Use the links below to find information on where such risks come from, signs and symptoms to look out for and what you can do to prevent such injuries.

  1. Common injuries to muscles, bones and joints
  2. Preventing injuries to muscles, bones and joints

2. Preventing injuries to muscles, bones and joints


There are a number of things you can do to help prevent injuries to muscles, bones and joints.

Reduce manual force

Reduce the weight of items or the distance they need to be moved to reduce the amount of manual force needed by your employees.

To help with this you could use

  • lightweight tools
  • a team of operators
  • levers such as a lift, hoist or forklift truck.

Use the right working position

Design tasks and equipment to suit your employees. This involves taking into account differences in

  • size
  • build
  • health
  • strength
  • right or left handed operations.

To help with this you could

  • avoid the need for awkward postures
  • ensure enough space is available to do the job
  • design the work to prevent sudden movement of the body
  • provide platforms, tools and adjustable chairs
  • provide appropriate protective clothing, such as the right sized gloves with adequate grip.

Improve the working environment

You can also reduce the risk of injury by improving the working environment.

To help with this you could

  • make sure the temperature is reasonable
  • avoid putting workstations near draughts
  • make sure the lighting is right for the job
  • provide suitable clothing to keep employees warm in cold workplaces.

Monitor and review conditions

Act immediately on any signs and symptoms of ill health or injury and encourage early reporting.

To help with this you could

  • provide safe and healthy working conditions that are reviewed and maintained to a good standard
  • consider health assessments upon an employee’s conditional offer of a job or as part of a health surveillance program.

Provide training

You have a responsibility to make sure your employees know the right techniques to carry out their work and how to use tools and equipment correctly.

Find out more

You can find more information on preventing injuries to muscles, bones and joints ​in our publication, Health risks at work.

Go to our Health Risks at Work publication​​ ​