HSE To Stand Up To Back Ache

Experts at the Health and Safety Executive are warning construction workers are picking up injuries and conditions that can stop them working and leave them struggling to stand, walk or sit down.

The HSE has launched a campaign to combat serious aches, pains and strains in construction (musculoskeletal disorders). Around 40,000 construction workers suffer injuries to muscles, bones, joints and nerves every year.

There will be thousand site inspections in October and November, with a focus on checking how workers are moving heavy or bulky materials.



Moving and handling risks should be considered and prevented where possible at the design stage. Once on site and before work starts, employers should talk to workers about controlling existing risks to make sure that the right training, aids and equipment are there to prevent injuries.


 “Serious aches, pains and strains can affect every part of someone’s life. They can struggle to get themselves dressed and undressed, they can be unable to pick up their children or grandchildren.”

– Matt Birtles 

Principal ergonomist, Health and Safety Executive


In agony

“They can struggle to sit down and stand up, they can struggle to keep still and move around. The most intimate parts of their lives can be severely affected - they might be desperate to go the toilet but find themselves unable,” continues HSE’s Birtles. “It’s not something that many people feel comfortable talking about, perhaps particularly on a building site, yet if your back has gone or if you’re in agony whenever you move your arms, measures need to be put in place to address the causes.”


Action check

HSE’s head of construction, Sarah Jardine adds: “Inspectors are visiting a range of construction sites to check the action businesses are taking to ensure their workers are being protected.

“Everyone involved in construction has a role to play in keeping people safe. Risks must be managed where they can’t be prevented and risk management arrangements must be reviewed frequently to ensure they are effective.

“We want everyone in the industry, from designers to contractors and their workers, to be aware of the risks associated with any moving or lifting task and put appropriate measures in place.”

Picture: The HSE will be doing site inspections on construction sites to advise on avoiding back strain.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
13th October 2022


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