Musculoskeletal disorders continue to burden worker health, with the issue particularly affecting the farming industry, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says.
The HSE's latest statistics show that 7.3 million working days were lost last year to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) with 477,000 cases being reported in 2022, 139,000 of which were new cases.
MSDs are common in most industries, but the agricultural sector is one among few that has a significantly higher than average rate.
The most recent annual statistics show that MSDs were responsible for around half of all work-related ill health cases in agriculture, forestry and fishing, higher than any other industry.
The safety watchdog says employers should take a proactive approach to prevent this kind of injury, reducing the risk to employees and the burden on businesses from working days lost and costly fines or legal action.
MSD injuries are most often associated with pain in the joints and muscles with aching or stiffness in the back and upper limbs most common.
Back pain is often linked to tasks that involve lifting and carrying, bending and crouching as well as with spending long periods in one position.
Footwear manufacturer HAIX advises businesses across all sectors on how the correct use of personal protective equipment, particularly safety footwear.
Industry expert Simon Ash at HAIX said: “The correct footwear supports the entire body and helps to reduce the risk of injury, particularly when working in slippery, wet environments.
"If footwear is comfortable, people are more likely to be concentrating on their task as opposed to worrying about their feet; meaning productivity also significantly improves.
"A key feature to look for when buying work boots is that they actively work to correct foot posture, which can help reduce lower body and back pain."
He added: "Ultimately, the latest HSE statistics demonstrate that musculoskeletal injuries are still a major problem in the workplace.
"When selecting safety footwear take it seriously and consider both the long-term benefits and potential impacts incorrect choices can have so that more workers can stay safe on their feet.”