The Reference body for occupational risk prevention in France, commonly called INRS, stated the alarming importance of musculoskeletal disorders at work. Musculoskeletal disorders are a scourge, both concerning individual suffering and economic burden: they represent a cost for companies! The INRS valued the average cost of a musculoskeletal disorder including medical care and compensations and it is more than 21 000 €.
Assistance tools exist in order to protect operator’s health and to reduce risks of accidents at work. However, whereas these tools should be beneficial for them, we can notice that operators feel reticent about using them. How can we explain this phenomenon?
Even if tools and solutions exist, they are not always correctly identified or enough well-known.
Even if it is easy for him to continue to use the tool he is accustomed to, an operator should know that there are other options available that could help him. Use of a new tool requires the establishment of a new routine. This new habit training can take a long time and then can be refused by operators. Changing procedure should be both a will of operators but also of management, which must be at the forefront of solutions in this field. Indeed it is the role of the chain of command and managers to offer adapted and performant solutions to improve workers’ everyday lives.
Having an additional tool means spending time to seek this tool, to install and uninstall it, to maintain and store it… Moreover, if an operator forgot his tool and realizes this when he needs it, the waste of time is really important because he has to go back to pick it up.
Operators feel reticent about using assistance tools because of all the reasons already explained but also, and above all, because they don’t take musculoskeletal diseases’ risks seriously into account, in spite of numerous INRS prevention campaigns and International Labour Organization recommendations. Nevertheless, musculoskeletal diseases are by far the most frequent diseases at work!
Assistance tools facilitate admittedly operator’s work but they are sometimes heavy. Then they are difficult to transport, which is very paradoxical. Supposed to reduce musculoskeletal diseases, an assistance tool too heavy will have the opposite effect by causing pain to the operator who carries it.
To conclude, operators don’t always use assistance tools provided to them because of ease towards their former habits or just because they are not enough informed to be aware of risks they incur.
However it is easy to set up actions in order to raise operators’ awareness of use of assistance tools.