Back pain advice for employers
- Make The Back Book available as this contains evidence-based advice for those suffering with pain on how best to cope.
- Record and analyse sickness absence
- Consider a contract with an occupational health provider or in-house occupational health professionals
Record and analyse sickness absence
Find out to what extent workers are reporting back pain symptoms and how much sickness absence is due to back problems. You may need to look at how you record and monitor sickness absence. This information will show whether you need to address further preventative measures.
Patterns may emerge that identify difficulties with specific jobs. You should review your risk assessments if this is the case.
Using an occupational health provider
If you are concerned because significant numbers of your workers are affected by back problems, or lengthy/multiple spells of sickness absence due to back pain, you could develop schemes to tackle this, such as early access to advice or help in returning to work.
The benefits of using schemes can include:
- reducing the worker's pain and difficulty;
- reducing the time it takes for a worker to recover and return to work;
- improved productivity and reduced costs of absence.
There is also evidence that benefits of providing early access to advice, extra help where appropriate and managing return to work outweigh the costs, when return to work from back pain is approached in a structured way. You can find detailed information in HSE Research Report RR493 'The costs and benefits of active case management and rehabilitation for musculoskeletal disorders.'
Investing in sickness absence management
There is evidence that there are benefits to be gained through investing in effective sickness absence management. You may need senior management commitment and a business case for your workplace.
- Manual handling at work: A brief guide
- Managing upper limb disorders in the workplace
- Manual handling assessment charts
- Risk assessment of pushing and pulling (RAPP) tool
- Making the best use of lifting and handling aids