Share ways you have taken the strain out of working and you could be a winner

HSE campaign against musculoskeletal disorders
Explain how your company has overcome risks of musculoskeletal disorders and you could be a winner in the Risk-Reduction Through Design Award.


Companies are being encouraged to enter the Risk-Reduction Through Design Award by explaining how they have reduced the risk of injury faced by their employees at work.

Last year’s winner redesigned a trolly and an oven so resin mixing bowls could be wheeled straight into the oven with no re-handling.

It not only eliminated lifting the bowls off the trolly and on to shelves in a hot oven, which involved lifting and twisting, often the cause of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and the risk of spills and contact with hot parts, it made the job much quicker and improved productivity, as better health & safety so often does.

Not taking care of health & safety also risks losing injured staff while they recover – and most companies cannot afford to lose staff.

To help inspire employers to make workplaces safer the Risk Reduction Through Design Award encourages companies of all sizes to share their successes and, hopefully, inspire others to think about how they could improve the way they work.

The competition is open to all UK employers and is sponsored by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (CIEHF).

All employers are obliged to try to remove or reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in staff as much as possible and simple changes to the design of workplaces, tasks or activities can have a big impact.

Employers in the UK who have designed a solution to reduce risks and avoid MSDs can nominate the design change for the Risk-Reduction Through Design Award.

How to enter

Explain on no more than two sides of A4 paper how you, as an employer, have reduced the risk of MSDs for your workers.

The competition is open to employers only. Nominations from consultants or marketing companies cannot be accepted, although they might have been involved in finding the solutions.

The nomination should include:

  • a description of the task or activity and workplace before you made the change
  • a description after you made the design change
  • clear before and after photos
  • a quote demonstrating what your workers think about the design change

Make it clear:

  • if you designed the solution in-house or if someone else helped you. If someone else helped, say who it was and what they did
  • explain what the impact of the design change is and how an MSD risk has been reduced
  • say how many people this affects
  • explain any other advantages of the design change. For example, other health or safety benefits, productivity improvements or environmental benefits
  • itemise how you involved your employees in the process

Do NOT include any contact details on your nomination.

Email an entry of no more than two sides of A4 paper to

In the email include:

  • your name, email address and telephone number
  • the full name and address of your business
  • your company number

Closing date for nominations is 31 January 2023.

The winner will be announced in the summer next year at the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors awards event (a date for which has yet to be announced).

In previous years the judges have commended some nominations as well as choosing one as the winner.

HSE will use the winning entry and some of any commended entries as case studies which it will share widely.

See the latest podcast on manual handling in construction

The HSE’s latest podcast is linked to its current 'Your Health. Your Future' initiative to protect construction workers from work-related MSDs. (Listen to the podcast here)

Construction sites across Great Britain are currently (October and November) being visited by HSE inspectors as part of its initiative to raise awareness of health issues in relation to moving and handling materials. 

Last year, 40,000 construction workers reported suffering with work-related MSDs and the new podcast discusses what companies can do to promote change and protect their workforce from the risk of MSDs.

The podcast includes conversations with Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics & Human Factors Consultant at HSE, and Peter Crosland, National Civil Engineering Director at the Civil Engineering Contractors Association.

They talk about the impact MSDs can have on workers, employers' legal responsibilities and sensible control measures that can be introduced, regardless of the size of the company or the construction site.

You can assess your company’s risk of MSDs among employees using a digital version of HSE’s Manual Handling Assessment Charts (MAC) tool available free here.

And you can find out more about HSE's 'Your health. Your future' campaign here.