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Schemes for helping workers return to work

Early access to advice

This service could be used for workers with back symptoms who are still at work or any who are on sick leave:

Extra help in returning to work

If someone is off work or unable to work normally due to back pain or injury and they have continued to have problems for 4-6 weeks, you can invest in a particular type of scheme to help restore function to the worker. This is called a functional restoration programme.

This is a real life example of where functional restoration was used to help workers return to work:

Royal Mail paid occupational physiotherapists to run a programme that had a success rate of 67%. In this scheme, employees had a history of extensive problems, suffering e.g. a prolapsed disc or back injury, and had been off work for periods such as 14 months. They had many years of potential employment ahead of them and had physically-demanding jobs, including lifting heavy mail bags. Most of these employees were able to return to work after a programme lasting typically just 10 weeks. They returned to full duties and were able to go back to active leisure pursuits like football.

The evidence indicates that these special programmes can prevent long-term back pain and be highly cost-effective, especially when individuals are selected as needing this approach, for example, those who have been having problems for at least 4 weeks and are not optimistic about being able to resume their normal job in the future.

If you need help to quickly and effectively address the issue of employee health, minimise the impact of staff illness, and provide essential support to staff with physical or mental health issues you can contact:

Updated 2015-03-26