Back ache might not be a real pain

Back problems cited by staff are commonly regarded by line managers as an
excuse for low morale or boredom.

And when employees take days off for headaches or migraines they are assumed
to be skiving.

The cynicism by Britain’s managers was uncovered in a study released this
week by the Industrial Society. But managers also think stress is
under-reported, believing it to be the real problem when a stomach upset is
given as the cause of absence.

• The Government has launched a £700,000 initiative to prevent back injury
at work. Back pain is the largest cause of sickness absence, costing UK
industry an estimated £5bn and 11 million working days each year, said public
health minister Yvette Cooper.

Common reasons given for absence from work

Recorded by staff

• Colds/flu

• Stomach upsets

• Headaches/migraines

• Back problems

• Stress/emotional problems

Managers’ opinions

• Colds/flu

• Stress/emotional problems

• Monday morning blues

• Low morale

• Family responsibilities

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