According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an estimated 38.8 million workdays were lost in the UK in 2020 due to workplace related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries.
The leading cause of staying away from work due to workplace related ill-health is stress, depression and anxiety but a staggering 12million days are lost every year due to back pain, according to Unison.
Versus Arthritis reports that low back pain is the leading cause of disability in the UK and that approximately 1:6 adults have some form of lower back pain. Back pain can be so debilitating and the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) reports that workers take up to 12 sick days per year due to their back health.
Consumer research revealed that a third of UK employees took a day off work due to back or neck pain in 2019. The BCA found that two fifths or workers who spend much of their workday sitting find it difficult to take a break - only 6% reported that they are encouraged to do so. Sitting at a workstation for extended periods is not only a trigger for back pain it can exacerbate an existing back condition.
The Musculoskeletal Calendar (a prevalence modelling tool created by Arthritis Research UK and Imperial College London) gives insights into MSK conditions by local authority. In Bath & North-East Somerset 10.2% of the local population suffer from severe back pain. That’s around 30,000 people, most of whom are likely to be of working age. Musculoskeletal conditions contribute to the £100 billion a year that the UK economy loses due to sickness absence each year. Employers can help mitigate this loss.
Employees are the lifeblood of every organisation and their health and wellbeing is central to the sustainable running of any business. Managers and business leaders have a duty of care to provide the support that their teams need to stay well and to carry out the terms of their engagement without detriment to health.
A responsible employer knows that not only is this the right thing to do for their employees, but that is makes good economic sense. Culturally, employees should be actively encouraged to take regular work breaks. There is excellent published material to help employers and HR teams, including this employer musculoskeletal wellbeing toolkit from Business in the Community in association with The Prince’s Trust
Additionally, our team At The Core can support local employers to put in place a programme that encourages good musculoskeletal health in the workplace. We have a range of services and therapies that are designed to help patients stay mobile and lead a healthy and active life. Read our tips on good back health at work here and here. Call us to find out how we can help individual members of your team find relief from back pain and return to work. . It makes perfect business sense.