Fight musculoskeletal disorders for better occupational health
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Paris (AFP) – Shoulder, back, wrist pain…: musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) represent the majority of occupational diseases (86%) with significant costs for companies, winners when they act.
In 2014, Health Insurance launched a program called “TMS Pros” to help them reduce the impact of these disorders. The person in charge of the system, Julien Tonner at AFP listed “almost 8,000 companies targeted each season” (2014-2018 and 2019-2022) with proven MSD and back pain problems.
Certain sectors such as mass distribution, hygiene, personal assistance and care, logistics or construction are “priorities” because the share of MSD in occupational diseases exceeds 90%, added the consulting engineer of Health insurance – occupational hazard.
The implementation of the program, which aims to develop “sustainable” prevention, is “voluntary” and companies are supported. They may benefit from financial assistance for external diagnostics or equipment purchases.
The Saint-Cloud (Hauts de Seine) hospital of the Institut Curie started this “TMS Pros” program six years ago, explains Alae Bouyarden, who is in charge of occupational risk prevention.
This continues even though the establishment has not gone to the sights for several years: “every year, we target the sectors where we have strong indicators: back pain problems, absenteeism, repetitive accident at work.. “.
After the laboratory or the pharmacy, this was the case last year for the area for sterilizing medical instruments.
In this room, surgical equipment arrives via a freight elevator, is washed, before being placed in a cupboard to be sterilized.
Anasthasie, a 48-year-old nurse, explained that with repeated movements to wash the instruments under the sink “at the end of the day, it pulls on the back and the shoulders, we are in a lot of pain “.
Notably, he wore sensors that analyzed his posture to “see what time of day he was in pain, what time we could act”, what the material meant or related to the organization of the work to be put in, the Alae Bouyarden said.
Since then, work has completely redesigned the space.
“We installed a booster seat which helps us a lot”, explains the caregiver. It’s a type of metal tray that allows for less bending, while an ergonomic mat reduces friction and promotes blood circulation.
To handle boxes that can exceed 10 kilograms, he can also use a lifting tool. And lifting is automatic whereas before you had to keep your thumb pressed.
“With all these changes, I am allowed to work in good condition,” said Anasthasie, “My pain will decrease”.
“We owe our employees good working conditions,” said Alae Bouyarden. And “we are winners. It saves us indirect costs: absenteeism, time allocated to training substitutes, inclusion in the collective” …
In addition to the “physical suffering for the employees”, Valérie Courtinat, health manager in the operating room, who notably supervises the sterilization, observes that MSDs lead to “many malfunctions and unexpected events at the planning level”.
“With the aging population, it becomes very problematic. (…) When you are carrying patients for 20 years, carrying boxes, going through big carts (…), these are women who broken”.
In 2017, Health Insurance estimated the direct cost for companies at almost two billion euros.
For Julien Tonner, TMS Pros is “a good way to change the situation in terms of prevention.”
In addition to the direct effects on MSD and low back pain, “we also see that we reduce accidents at work in a general sense” and absenteeism although this aspect is “not so easy to assess”, he said.
The analysis of TMS Pros carried out in 2021 remarkably reports a decrease in the frequency index of 8.1% for MSDs and 4.5% for occupational accidents for companies that have validated the last phase of the program.
© 2022 AFP