Lighten the load
A campaign of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Lighten the Load is the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work's 2007 campaign to tackle MSDs in the workplace.

One in four workers reported suffering from back pain in 2005, and a smaller number complained of muscular pains. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) remain the most common of all reported work-related health problems in the EU15 (53%).

MSDs affect millions of European workers across all employment sectors, with the highest rates found in the agriculture and construction sectors.

The cost to individual companies, individual workers and their families, and to Europe and society at large, is high. MSDs not only result in high costs due to medical and social security expenses, and lost productivity, but also result in personal suffering for many workers.

Any worker can be affected, yet the problem can be prevented or reduced by following existing health and safety regulations, and is preventable by applying proper risk assessments, putting in place appropriate preventive measures based on guidance and good practice, and checking that these measures remain effective.

This issue is important for teachers and trainers because education and training plays an important role for developing a preventive culture, even going beyond the workplace and the working population.
Education and training can help avoiding problems that are caused by mistakes in daily life and daily work (e.g. in carrying heavy loads).

Lighten the load seeks to promote an integrated management approach to tackle MSDs embracing prevention of MSDs, and the retention, rehabilitation and reintegration of workers who already suffer from MSDs to make workplaces safer and healthier. What is needed is a holistic approach to MSDs that integrates both primary prevention and the return to work of those who suffer an MSD.

The campaign culminates in the European Week of Safety and Health at Work from 22 to 26 October 2007, and is an opportunity to make Europe's workplaces safer and healthier.

| Bild: | The official launch of the campaign took place on June 4th in Brussels.

A large range of promotional material is available: printed material, games and animations, quizzes etc.

Information packages are available in 22 languages here

An interview with Dr Jukka Takala, Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work can be accessed here

Visit the Agency's web sections on MSDs
(in English) and
here (in German)

| Bild: | The movie "Lighten the Load" starring the Agency- Cartoon- Figure "Napo" can be watched here

All information on the campaign is available on the Agency website.