According to the Confederation of British Industry’s 2011 absence and workplace health survey, musculoskeletal problems and back pain are the second and third most common causes of long-term sickness absence in the UK.¹
So, the more you understand about the effects of work-related back injuries, the more you can do to keep your employees in good shape and at work.
It is not always possible to predict what might trigger back pain. However, with the right precautions and management, you could reduce the cost of back pain-related sickness absence.
While most people associate back injuries in the workplace with manual jobs involving heavy lifting and physical activity, they can affect workers from every industry and It can be difficult to determine the cause of back pain. Work-related back injuries may be triggered by various factors but according to the Health and Safety Executive², it is more common in roles that involve:
Bad backs can occur for a number of reasons which may be out of your control, but there are a number of steps you can take to help prevent back pain and injuries in the workplace.
Encourage breaks away from the desk as well as regular stretching. People who are active and generally fit tend to recover better from aches and pains
Look at employee work habits and individual needs on a regular basis.
Assess workstations to reduce risks. Provide seating with adequate support and check VDU positions for desk-based employees.
Review your health and safety policy and train employees how to lift correctly.
Report pain early
Encourage employees to report symptoms as it is important to arrange proper treatment and rehabilitation. This could help reduce sickness absence and reduce costs.
In most cases, back pain gets better within a few weeks and can usually be treated by taking painkillers and keeping mobile.³
The longer an employee is off work, the less likely they are to return. However, keeping in regular contact and preparing a return to work plan could prevent losing key employees to long-term sickness.
To find out how you can tailor our business health insurance to suit the healthcare needs and budget of your company call us on 08452 668 974*.
¹ CBI. Absence and workplace health survey 2011. Date accessed – 9 March 2012.
² The Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Date accessed – 9 March 2012.
³ NHS Choices. Date accessed – 9 March 2012 http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Back-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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