Individual prevention of workplace related musculoskeletal disorders

Project No. FF-FB 0320




Despite many years of group-based primary prevention at the workplace to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders, there were neither any significant reductions in sickness absences, nor occupational diseases. A new approach focuses on secondary and tertiary preventive measures, which are individually tailored for the needs of single employees.

The following questions need to be addressed:

  1. Which early indicators for impending work-related diseases/disorders (or occupational diseases) of the musculoskeletal system do exist, according to current knowledge? Potential outcomes: disc degeneration/disc prolapse (neck or lumbar spine), osteoarthritis (knee joint, hip joint), rotator cuff lesion/rupture (shoulder)
  2. Which (successful) individual prevention programs exist to improve or stabilize early indicators, reduce disease progression, or lead to socially wanted results (e. g. job retention, good life quality, workability, etc.), respectively? Which criteria/outcomes define sustainable results?
  3. Development of individualized secondary (and/or tertiary) preventive programs (interventions) for musculoskeletal diseases - eventually specified for defined work-related activities and/or professions.


A systematic literature search on scientific databases will be conducted to summarize the available evidence. To specify the search strategy we will use the PICOS scheme (PICOS: Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Study Design). Two reviewers will independently screen the search results against predefined eligibility criteria, which will be developed in cooperation with a group of experts.

Methodological study quality will be assessed with a standardized risk of bias assessment. If appropriate, we will conduct a meta-analysis to pool the results of included studies. To supplement the database search we will identify "grey literature" by systematic search and an expert survey.

Last Update:

26 Mar 2021



-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

work-related diseases, handling of loads, mechanical hazards


occupational disease, prevention, musculoskeletal disorders (except cancer)

Description, key words:

individual prevention, musculoskeletal disorders