The Digital Economy and Hybrid Work Call for a Review of Compensation Criteria for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Main Article Content

Yves Roquelaure https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6918-0909
Julie Bodin https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8994-4870
Florence Cros https://orcid.org/0009-0002-4416-1757
Alexis Descatha https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6028-3186
Marc Fadel https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1554-0021

Keywords

hybrid work, new way of working, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational disease, compensation

Abstract

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) pose a significant occupational health challenge in Europe. The digitization of the economy substantially reshaped the nature and organization of work. The proliferation of hybrid working, characterized by a combination of office-based and remote work, has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This review covers hybrid forms of work, their impact on WRMSDs, and the potential implications for WRMSD compensation. Approximately 30-40% of the European workforce could potentially transition to hybrid forms of work. Hybrid work arrangements can result in prolonged static postures of the trunk, neck, and upper limbs without adequate breaks, thereby increasing the risk of neck and lower back pain. As teleworking and hybrid working become more prevalent, an increase in non-specific WRMSDs is anticipated among the working population. In many countries, claims for WRMSDs necessitate a formal diagnosis by a healthcare professional. However, cases of non-specific WRMSDs, such as cervicalgia or chronic shoulder pain, - commonly observed in sedentary workers engaged in predominantly low-intensity, prolonged static work amid visually and cognitively demanding tasks - often do not meet the criteria for compensation as occupational diseases. The compensation system and/or the criteria for compensation must be adapted to accommodate the rise of telework, necessitating evolving criteria for compensation that address both medical and risk exposure considerations.

Abstract 182 | PDF Downloads 212

References

1. EU-OSHA. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: Why Are They Still so Prevalent? Evidence from a Literature Review. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA); 2020. https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/work-related-musculoskeletal-disorders-why-are-they-still-so-prevalent-evidence/view
2. Eurofound. Fifth Round of the Living, Working and COVID-19 e-Survey: Living in a New Era of Uncertainty. Publications Office of the European Union; 2022. Accessed July 7, 2022. https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/fr/publications/2022/fifth-round-of-covid-19-e-survey-living-in-the-new-era-of-uncertainty
3. Eurofound. The Future of Telework and Hybrid Work. Publications Office of the European Un-ion; 2023. https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/report/2023/the-future-of-telework-and-hybrid-work
4. Sostero M. Teleworkability and the COVID-19 Crisis: A New Digital Divide? European Commis-sion; 2020. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/jrcsh/files/jrc121193.pdf
5. Eurofound. The Rise in Telework: Impact on Working Conditions and Regulations. Publication Office of the European Union, Luxembourg; 2022. https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/report/2022/the-rise-in-telework-impact-on-working-conditions-and-regulations
6. EU-OSHA. OSH Pulse - Occupational Safety and Health in Post-Pandemic Workplaces Flash Eu-robarometer Report. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA); 2022. https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/osh-pulse-occupational-safety-and-health-post-pandemic-workplaces
7. Roquelaure Y. Musculoskeletal Disorders and Psychosocial Factors at Work. European Trade Union Institute (ETUI); 2018:82. https://www.etui.org/sites/default/files/EN-Report-142-MSD-Roquelaure-WEB.pdf
8. van der Molen HF, Foresti C, Daams JG, Frings-Dresen MHW, Kuijer PPFM. Work-related risk factors for specific shoulder disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Occup Environ Med. Published online July 29, 2017. doi:10.1136/oemed-2017-104339
9. EU-OSHA. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: Prevalence, Costs and Demographics in the EU. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA); 2019. https://osha.europa.eu/fr/publications/msds-facts-and-figures-overview-prevalence-costs-and-demographics-msds-europe/view
10. Johansson H, Arendt-Nielsen L, Bergenheim M, et al. Epilogue: an integrated model for chronic work-related myalgia “Brussels Model.” Published online 2003. Accessed April 7, 2017. http://vbn.aau.dk/en/publications/epilogue(39712b90-002c-11da-b4d5-000ea68e967b).html
11. Oakman J, Kinsman N, Stuckey R, Graham M, Weale V. A rapid review of mental and physical health effects of working at home: how do we optimise health? BMC Public Health. 2020;20(1):1825. doi:10.1186/s12889-020-09875-z
12. dos Santos IN, Pernambuco ML, da Silva AMB, de Andrade Ruela G, de Oliveira AS. Association between musculoskeletal pain and telework in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: an integrative review/Associacao entre dor musculoesqueletica e teletrabalho no contexto da pandemia de COVID-19: uma revisao integrativa. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Trabalho. 2021;19(3):342-351.
13. Papalia GF, Petrucci G, Russo F, et al. COVID-19 Pandemic Increases the Impact of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Metanalysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(8):4599. doi:10.3390/ijerph19084599
14. Gomez IN, Gonzalez-Suarez C, Sosa KE, Tapang ML. Work-from-home-related musculoskeletal pain during the COVID-19 pandemic: A rapid review protocol. Int J Osteopath Med. Published online April 4, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.ijosm.2022.04.005
15. Fadel M, Bodin J, Cros F, Descatha A, Roquelaure Y. Teleworking and Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023;20(6):4973. doi:10.3390/ijerph20064973
16. Marques de Macedo TA, dos Santos Cabral EL, Silva Castro WR, et al. Ergonomics and telework: A systematic review. Work. 2020;66(4):777-788. doi:10.3233/WOR-203224
17. Milaković M, Koren H, Bradvica-Kelava K, et al. Telework-related risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders. Front Public Health. 2023;11:1155745. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2023.1155745
18. Matsugaki R, Muramatsu K, Tateishi S, et al. Association Between Telecommuting Environment and Low Back Pain Among Japanese Telecommuting Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study. J Occup En-viron Med. 2021;63(12):e944-e948. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000002412
19. ILO. Diagnostic and exposure criteria for occupational diseases – Guidance notes for diagnosis and prevention of the diseases in the ILO List of Occupational Diseases (revised 2010). Published online 2022. https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/safety-and-health-at-work/resources-library/publications/WCMS_836362
20. Eurogip. Musculoskeletal disorders: What recognition as occupational diseases? A study on 10 European countries Paris: EUROGIP - Ref. Eurogip-120/E - 2016 - 21 x 29,7 cm - 70 pages - 979-10-91290-79-1. Published online 2016. https://www.eurogip.fr/images/pdf/Eurogip120E_ReportMSDs.pdf