Conversation starters for workplace discussions about musculoskeletal disorders is designed to encourage group discussions and also includes guidance for managers and staff on how best to communicate about MSDs.
The document features a range of potential scenarios to initiate discussions with workers whose roles have the potential to cause MSDs, and is designed to highlight the need for “prompt and effective” communication between staff and managers. These can be used in either workshops or training sessions, and cover issues such as telling an employer about an MSD diagnosis and tackling MSDs in a workplace where tasks are highly differentiated by gender.
The situations have been chosen to highlight some of the challenges that workers can face and the importance of understanding company procedures relating to MSD prevention, such as which responsibilities lie with employers and which lie with staff. Employers can also tailor the scenarios to incorporate their own policies and procedures.
Among the “conversation starters” included are a delivery driver facing a 10 per cent increase in workload, canteen staff chopping very large volumes of vegetables, and a machine operator whose production manager has ignored the person’s concerns about exposure to hand-arm vibration. Each scenario includes a list of introductory questions and suggested discussion topics, as well as links to additional information.
The resource stresses the importance of reporting symptoms as early as possible, and is designed to make workers better equipped to deal with situations that require judgement decisions.
“Good communication between workers and managers about MSDs is essential to preventing and managing them properly,” says EU-OSHA. “This practical resource makes clear the benefits of having honest and constructive conversations as soon as a problem arises.”