A new downloadable tool is now available to help businesses and organisations reduce the likelihood of their employees suffering from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the upper limbs associated with repetitive tasks.

MSDs are the most common occupational illness in Britain affecting more than 500,000 people every year and are often linked to repetitive work tasks such as packing on a production line or the regular use of hand tools.

The Assessment of Repetitive Tasks (ART) tool, developed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), can help identify where the significant risks lie, suggest where to focus risk reduction measures and help prioritise improvements.

Jeremy Ferreira, Senior Ergonomist at HSL said:

“Assessing quick repetitive movements of the arms and hands can be more difficult than assessing manual handling operations like heavy lifting.

“Often actions to reduce MSDs caused by repetitive tasks are incredibly simple, yet are overlooked by employers because the risks are not so readily recognised.

“The ART tool makes it much easier to determine where the risks lie, and what measures should be taken by employers together with their workforce to reduce the potential for injury.”

The tool complements existing HSE guidance on upper limbs, and is available online at www.hse.gov.uk/msd/uld/art[1] or in hard copy (INDG438).


1.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It works to prevent death, injury and ill-health to those at work and those affected by work activities. For more information about the work of HSE, visit www.hse.gov.uk[2]
2.Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include problems such as low back pain, joint injuries and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts.
3.HSE priced and free publications are available at www.hsebooks.co.uk[3] or by mail order from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA
4.Free HSE leaflets can be downloaded from HSE’s website