The first step is to make sure workers know what to report.

Pain is the most common sign of an MSD, which can persist for some time. In addition to pain, other signs and symptoms include:

  • tingling
  • numbness
  • burning sensations
  • weakness
  • swelling
  • soreness
  • stiffness
  • muscle spasms
  • reduced range of motion
  • aches
  • cramping
  • restricted mobility.

Once the worker has recognised they have a problem, make sure they can report it and are encouraged to do so. The earlier the worker reports the problem, the easier it is for their organisation to prevent the issue from developing into something more serious or happening to anyone else.

Organisations can document a policy and best practices for early reporting and ensure workers understand how to report discomfort or other signs and symptoms. Ensure that any reported problem is dealt with promptly and assign responsibility to someone in the organisation who can carry out the role of organising the next steps.

How to report MSD injuries

  • Report: in the first instance the worker should know where to report their injury and to whom, and how to seek medical attention if required. First aid treatment may be enough, but if the injury is more serious, urgent medical attention will be required.
  • Investigate: the organisation must investigate and keep a detailed record of what happened and what the outcome of the investigation is going to be.
  • Legal obligations: check to see if there is a requirement to report illness or injury to a local regulatory body. If so, the organisation will need to ensure this is carried out.
  • Communicate: ensure that the organisation is in regular contact with the worker. If they are off work, it’s important to keep in touch. This will ensure the worker feels valued and is likely to come back to work.

Body mapping tool

The aim of this is to identify problems that require further investigation when workers are already hurt or struggling. This is also used to encourage workers to think about solutions to the problems they report.

The organisation could ask the individual to show on the tool where the discomfort is on their body and rate it out of 10 (10 being highly discomforting).

Body mapping tool