Musculoskeletal disorders - referrals

This section tells you how to manage individuals with MSDs ‘in-house’, and when and how to refer them on.

Managing individuals ‘in-house’

You may have access to occupational health to which workers could be referred for help and advice with their symptoms. Occupational health provision is valuable for advising on the management of cases. For more information, refer to HSE.

For advice on managing an individuals condition, see this table.

Seeking outside help

Basic guidance on seeking help from outside professionals is available in this free leaflet from the Professional Organisations in Occupational Safety and Health (POOSH) website. These outline what different professionals do and how to get the most from them.

Occupational health providers

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine has performance standards for occupational health services.

If you need to source local occupational health providers, your local HSE office should be able to help. 

For more information about occupational health advisers, visit the websites of the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners and the Royal College of Nursing.

The World Health Organization explains what an occupational health nurse does.


The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) has produced Guidance for employers on engaging an occupational physician, and the Society of Occupational Medicine has a list of occupational physicians.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has a database of all medical doctors, where you can check a doctors registration.


To find a physiotherapist in your area, go to any of the following websites:

Physio First - Find a physio

Chartered Society of Physiotherapists - Find a Chartered physiotherapist

Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics (ACPOHE) - Find a physio near you

Case management and return-to-work advice

If you need help with case management, more information is available from The Case Management Society UK. The Peninsula Medical School literature review, Avoiding long-term incapacity for work: developing an early intervention in primary care, provides an evidence base for early intervention in sickness absence and discusses factors that influence referrals to return-to-work interventions.

Professional health associations

Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics

British Association of Occupational Therapists and College of Occupational Therapists

British Chiropractic Association

British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine

Case Management Society UK

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association

Faculty of Occupational Medicine

Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (previously the Ergonomics Society)

Institute of Occupational Medicine

Physio First

Scottish Chiropractic Association

Society of Occupational Medicine

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