Barriers to more effective prevention of work-related musculoskeletal and mental health disorders Academic Article uri icon


  • Work-related psychosocial hazards have substantial effects on risks of both musculoskeletal and mental health disorders (MSDs, MHDs). Recent Australian research on workplace risk management practices in 19 work organisations found that risks from work-related psychosocial hazards were poorly managed. This study identified factors impeding better management of MSD and MHD risks within those organisations. METHOD: Interviews were conducted with staff from residential aged care and logistics/transport organisations in Australia. Transcripts were analysed using a worker-centred systems framework. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Many barriers to more effective risk management were identified. Most fundamentally, few people knew of the need to manage MSD risk arising from work-related psychosocial hazards, and OHS-related skills of key managers were often reported as inadequate, particularly concerning management of risk from psychosocial hazards. Also, funding and staffing levels were often reported as problematic, and OHS issues were seen as lower priority than accreditation and commercial requirements.

publication date

  • 2019