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This policy exists to safeguard the health and safety of all colleagues whilst at work with regards to Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) and acknowledges that not all work relevant ULDs can be prevented. Work is not always the primary causation of ULDs, yet the symptoms are frequently work-relevant and some work tasks will be difficult for people experiencing upper limb symptoms, and may sometimes provoke symptoms that may otherwise not materialize.

It is important that whenever there is an indication that a colleague may be experiencing symptoms of an ULD the Trust responds in a timely and consistent way to ensure that the employee receives the appropriate help at the earliest stage possible. It is important that managers and employees work together and commit to coordinated action in order to help protect employees health in the work place.

If action is taken promptly by the Trust, Manager, and Employee to limit or prevent exposure to the risk factors then recovery should be quicker. If action is not taken then the condition may persist, and in some cases become chronic.

Where an employee reports that they are experiencing any ULD symptoms to the HR/Line Manager/Senior Manager immediate advice must be sought from Occupational Health (OH).


Risk Factors

ULDs are widespread across a range of industries and jobs. Any type of work that involves the use of an individual’s arms can potentially lead to ULDs. The specific cause of ULDs can be difficult to specify but they may occur as a result of:

  • Repetitive finger, hand or arm movement which occurs during typing, squeezing, hammering, pushing or pulling.
  • Excessive force required to undertake an activity.
  • Poor posture due to work station set up or postural habits.
  • Awkward movements because of poorly designed tools or poor technique.
  • Cold temperatures
  • Poor work organisation
  • Vibration
  • Stress



This policy is set up to ensure the Trust complies with its responsibilities under Health and Safety at Work legislation. It also aims to promote a healthy working environment within the Trust, thereby reducing the risk of employees health being adversely affected by the work or working environment. The policy will develop working practices that reduce the factors that may contribute to ULDs in the workplace and provide procedures to manage any issues that do occur whilst supporting individuals involved. The policy should help to minimise sickness absence related to ULDs and contribute to improved retention/recruitment of staff.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Matt Stevenson, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist
Ratified by: Non Clinical Risk Committee
Health and Safety Committee
Date Ratified: March 2019
Date Issued: February 2019
Review Date: March 2022
Target Audience: All Managers
Contact name: Matt Stevenson, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist


See also:

  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Sickness Absence Policy
  • Risk Assessment Policy
  • Reporting and Management of Incidents