Comparative study of the relevance of musculoskeletal disorders between the Spanish and the European working population.Work. 2015; 51(4):645-56.WORK
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are diseases of high prevalence. The extent to which our work is causing or aggravating them is still questioned because their causes are heterogeneous and usually combined in the same person, and can be attributed to any of them.
The objective of this paper is to compare Spain with the rest of Europe concerning MSDs.
The study is based on a comparison between Spanish and European data. The difficulty is that the lists of occupational diseases in the various States of the European Union (EU) are different, and therefore it is difficult to compare data.The study compares two types of data: the views of workers, and the official results of workplace accidents. In the first case, the results of the VII Spanish National Survey of Working Conditions were compared to the V European Working Conditions Survey. In the second case, we compare accident data, published by the Spanish Labour Authorities, to data provided by Eurostat (Statistical Office of the European Communities).
During the development of this study, we have proved the importance and significance of MSDs on the Spanish working population in relation to the European one.First, we have discovered a great difference between Spanish and European workers views about the relationship between work and heath.Then, we detected some more important ergonomics risk factors within the Spanish workforces' opinions. These are repetitive movements, tiring positions, and exposure to vibrations. However concerning heavy loads, lifting or moving people, the views of Spanish workers are more carefree than European ones.If we only consider the official results of workplace accidents and diseases, we find Spanish rates higher than the European average.
The incidence of MSDs on the Spanish working population significantly exceeds European records in this matter. MSDs account for between 35-40% of Work Accidents and between 70-88% of Occupational Diseases in Spain so, we can see why Spain has one of the top Occupational Accidents rates in Europe.Spain should try to improve this issue by concentrating only on three factors: repetitive work of upper extremities, tiring positions and exposure to vibrations.