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Health Articles

The Working Environment and Back Pain

Friday 19th October 2018 0:00 AM

With the rise in sedentary working lifestyle in recent years, the preverlance of musculo-sketelal related sickness leave is on the increase. Sitting for long periods of time can have a serious affect on the upper thoracic and neck areas of the spine. By being aware, there are simple things we can do that will help mittigate the effect of long hours spent in front of a computer;

  • Take regular breaks and use that time to mobilise yourself.
  • Get into the routine of going for a walk.
  • Where possible, use the stairs rather than the lift.
  • Take the time to do a workplace assessment.

UK Health Minister tells employers to buy standing desks for employees!

This week, UK Health MinisterMatt Hancock told the ISPAH global conference on physical activity: “I know from personal experience that having a standing desk can help you get some exercise and improve your productivity at work,”

He urged employers to offer staff the chance to use standing desks like Yo-Yo Desk® : “Workplaces can make a difference: encouraging breaks, offering standing desks, having standing meetings - which in my experience tend to finish quicker too."

Average lunch-break now last just 22 minutes, down a third on six years ago, survey reveals:

The research found that nearly one in five workers never leave their desk during lunchtime, despite warnings that being sat for eight hours a day kills as many people globally as smoking. More

Working at home

We can be often tempted to adopt a less than ideal posture when using a laptop, choosing a more laidback appraoch to working

The animated video below highlights some of the key points to consider when working from home.

Whether sitting up in bed or sitting at a low coffee table, an adjustable laptop stand like the Etpak Stand can be a useful accessory.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has set out employers’ duties for display screen equipment in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. Among the regulations is the requirement to risk assess computer workstations:

Every employer shall perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of the workstation…for the purpose of assessing the health and safety risks to which those persons are exposed in the consequence of that use.

Help yourself by doing a workplace assessment. Simply Google 'work place assement' or talk to your Employer

Or download the HSE DSE Guide here

HSE Seating at Work

Common factors associated with backpain in the workplace

Back pain can be caused by different work factors. The exact cause is often unclear, but back pain is more common in occupational roles that involve:

  • repetitive tasks - such as manual packing of goods
  • force - heavy manual labour, handling tasks, pushing and pulling loads that require excessive force
  • posture - poor/ awkward postures such as stooping, bending over or crouching
  • duration - maintaining the same position for long periods of time e.g. working with computers or driving long distances. Also working when physically overtired
  • vibration - operating vibration tools
  • cold temperature - working in low temperature environments e.g. outdoor working in winter

More information from the HSE for Employers