Work-relatedmusculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) must be reduced

The pre­sen­ta­tions by the social part­ner experts were clear: MSDs are the most fre­quently cited com­plaint by work­ers in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor. For suf­fer­ers, MSDs cause pain and dis­com­fort, and, from a finan­cial point of view, cost social secu­rity sys­tems a great deal in the form of sick leave and reduced pro­duc­tiv­ity as well as through early retire­ment on health grounds. MSDs also engen­der con­sid­er­able costs to busi­nesses and to the national econ­omy as a whole. These were the main con­clu­sions drawn at a social part­ners’ con­fer­ence held on 22–24 Octo­ber 2004 at the Marig­nan High Tech­nol­ogy Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Brussels.

Employ­ers and union rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 25 coun­tries attended the event and tasked the con­fed­er­a­tions of the Euro­pean agri­cul­ture social part­ners with ini­ti­at­ing nego­ti­a­tions on reduc­ing MSDs. These nego­ti­a­tions reached their cli­max on 21 Novem­ber 2005 with the sign­ing of a joint agree­ment on reduc­ing MSDs in Europe.