The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has this month launched a campaign to tackle work-related back conditions, as latest figures suggest businesses lose an estimated 4.9 million working days to back complaints.
The government’s Labour Force Survey has estimated that affected employees take an average of 19 days off work, while the charity BackCare calculated the overall cost of back pain to the NHS, business and the economy at £5bn a year.
The HSE’s Better Backs campaign is designed to offer practical tips to businesses and employees about how to avoid back-related injuries in the workplace through a ‘microsite’ on the HSE’s website.
Lord Hunt, work and pensions minister, backed the initiative. “Everyone needs to take responsibility for tackling this issue. By taking simple, sensible precautions, we can collectively work to reduce the misery of back pain,” he said.
The prevalence of work-related back problems was fairly even across the country, with about one person in every 100 affected, said the HSE.
Only the north east of England had a clearly higher rate, perhaps because of its history of coal mining and other heavy industry, it suggested.
Go to www.hse.gov.uk