Supporting a Healthy Back

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The importance of looking after your employees’ backs should be at the forefront of your mind when considering their health and wellbeing as it is one illness that can seriously damage both them and your absence management. Once it starts to affect the workplace it becomes more important than you think. With research suggesting that pain medication, such as paracetamol, being largely ineffective at providing relief, offering your employees additional support is the way forward. A Health Shield health cash plan has benefits that can help ease your employees’ back problems before they become too big a problem to manage.

Having to take time off with a bad back is one of the most popular reasons for sickness absence in the UK, with over 80% of people suffering with back pain at some point in their lives. It affects everyone no matter what their profession from clerical to administrative staff and labourers.

Taking the measures to ensure that your employees look after their backs not only helps you to look after the health and wellbeing of those within your company but you are also looking after your company’s absenteeism rates and sickness levels. After all, with the millions of pounds that are lost each year to sick days, wouldn’t you want to keep absenteeism as low as possible? This is where your Health Shield health cash plan can help you.

As an employer, you can help your employees to look after their backs whether they are already suffering with pain or want help to prevent it by taking on board these eight tips:

  1. Ensure they exercise their back regularly. Encourage them to take regular walks or to take up swimming.
  2. If they do suffer with back pain, ensure they stay active as much as possible. Urge them to not sit still for too long, or if they are at home they need to avoid bed rest as it is counterproductive and will only keep them off work longer. Some simple walking and stretching will prevent any stiffness.
  3. Provide them with an ergonomically designed office chair. You must make sure it has a good back rest and provide a foot rest where you can. Changing sitting position every few minutes will also be beneficial.
  4. Allow your employees the opportunity to talk to their line manager or HR department if they are suffering. You may be able to provide options to help them be more comfortable at work.
  5. Provide adequate training about lifting and carrying. Making sure you bend your knees and hips instead of your back is important.
  6. Encourage good posture at desks. Try and help employees avoid slumping on their chairs, hunching over desks or walking with their shoulders hunched over.
  7. Of course everyone is entitled to smoke, but did you know this can actually cause back pain? It is thought smoking reduces the blood supply to the disks between the vertebrae which can lead them to degenerate.
  8. Provide access to stress support as it is believed that stress can also be a major cause of back pain.

It’s not just adults that we need to look after either; think about your children and those of your employees. One in four UK children complain of having regular or daily back pain which is often linked to the heavy school bags, prolonged sitting at desks during lessons, travelling, meal times and doing homework. A survey revealed that secondary school pupils in the UK sit for an average of nine hours per day. Sitting for too long is also linked to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and dementia.

To ensure you look after the wellbeing of your employees and provide access to treatment and preventative back care and more, sign up for a Health Shield health cash plan today. To find out which plan is best to suit your needs visit our employers section now.

Sources:

www.nhsemployers.org/news/2014/10/back-care-awareness-week

www.aecc.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2015/10/05/backcare-awareness-week-2015-back-pain-prevention-begins-at-school/

www.backcare.org.uk

www.nhs.uk/livewell/backpain/pages/topbacktips.aspx

http://www.evidentlycochrane.net/paracetamol-widely-used-ineffective/