Back Ache Is A Real Pain For Workers & Bosses
BACK pain is the second most common cause of long-term sickness in the UK after stress. Over 7 million working days are lost annually due to work-related back pain.
The costs of back pain to society and the economy run into billions of pounds. There is also a high price for individual companies when key workers are off ill for any length of time.
The construction trades are particularly prone to back pain.
Floorlayers, for example, have to kneel, stoop, bend and crouch; as well as pushing, pulling or dragging heavy rolls of carpet and other floorcoverings, while stretching, twisting and reaching.
The most common causes of back pain are strained muscles or ligaments, wear and tear, bad posture and stress.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued advice for employers on how to manage back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. It includes helping injured people to remain in work or to make an earlier return.
HSE advises employers comply with their legal requirements and to minimise the risk to their employees of developing back pain or making existing back pain worse.
Aside from floorlayers, back pain can be caused to staff in various roles, such as:
manual handling in awkward places, like delivery work;
repetitive tasks, such as manual packing of goods;
sitting at a workstation for a long period of time if the workstation is not correctly arranged or adjusted to fit the person, for example working with computers;
driving long distances or driving over rough ground, particularly if the seat is not, or cannot be, properly adjusted or adequately sprung.
Employers have a legal duty to consult employees or elected representatives.
Some people are more susceptible to back pain than others, so it is important to consult employees in the risk assessment process.
Steps to reduce the risk of back pain in the workplace include:
Think about how you can make jobs physically easier, e.g. by moving loads on wheels, providing better handles on loads, adjusting heights of worktops etc.
Consult regularly with the employees on their health and well being to help you identify concerns and developing trends.
Take actions to address any outcomes from these discussions.
Respond promptly when an individual worker reports back pain
Do risk assessments – and make changes where needed.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.