What are upper limb disorders?

Upper limb disorders (ULDs) are one of the most common health and safety matters affecting employee productivity.

It is highly likely that most businesses have had employees off sick due to problems from upper limb disorders (ULD), commonly know as repetitive strain injuries.

So what is ULD?

This condition manifests itself as pain or tenderness, stiffness, tingling, cramp or swelling felt in the upper body area - neck, shoulders, arms and wrists.

What causes it?

Various factors have the potential to cause it such as:

  • Repetitive work

  • Uncomfortable working postures

  • Sustained or excessive force

  • Carrying out tasks for long periods without suitable rest breaks

  • Poor working environment and organisation

Any type of work that involves a worker using their arms to carry out tasks can lead to ULD's e.g. computer use and assembly work.

What should an employer be doing?

Preventative measures may be simple and cost effective

You can look for any signs of problems or symptoms in your workplace; observe work tasks to see if there are factors that could lead to ULD's.

Practical tips!

If you do have a problem here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Encourage employees to report any signs and symptoms at an early stage so that medical help can be sought

  • If a task is causing or contributing to a ULD, stop employees doing that task

  • Tackle serious risks or those that affect a large number of employees first

  • Trial any new work practices before rolling them out across the workplace

Safetyboss can help

We have years of experience in working with employers to both prevent problems occurring or mitigate their impact if they do arise:

  • We can develop workplace risk assessments

  • We can provide workplace based staff training

  • We can assist with drafting an appropriate response to enforcing officer requests

For further information on any of our services please contact us on 01394 389683.


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