Advice for back pain issues in the workplace

Apr 12, 2021

Here is a list of simple do’s and don’ts from the HSE that will help you deal with back pain issues in the workplace.

For more information please contact Nigel Mann 01534 490312 at The Jersey Sports & Spinal Clinic.

Q. What can I do to help a worker with back pain?

The following is taken from the HSE website “As an employer, you can do a lot to help any of your staff that report back pain. It is very important to be positive and helpful in removing obstacles to their recovery.

  • Make sure they have the right information and advice on how to cope with back pain and lead a normal life. The easiest way to do this is to give them a copy of an information booklet; The Back Book is recommended.
  • Reassure them that you are concerned about them and want to help. Ask what they find difficult about the job. This may give you a chance to make jobs less physically demanding as a temporary measure to help them stay at work or return to work quickly .
  • If they have seen their doctor, tell them you are willing to discuss the situation with the doctor and to work with them to support any treatment that is recommended.
  • If they go off sick it is important to keep in touch. Discuss whether modified work or a gradual build-up to normal duties will help them return to work.

Q. What happens if a worker does not recover in a few weeks?

If the pain continues, it is important that the sufferer consults a medical practitioner to check that the condition is not serious. Because back pain has many causes, a precise diagnosis is not always possible, and this makes management of the pain all the more important.

Most workers should be able to return to some form of work within two weeks. If an employee has not been able to return by then, consider possible measures to help their recovery and return to work such as physiotherapy. It could also mean looking at changes to working conditions and helping the worker learn to cope.

Arranging treatment and rehabilitation will be easier for large businesses that have their own specialists and an occupational health service. But small businesses can also have access to these kinds of arrangements.

  • Some have ‘good neighbours’. Some large companies offer small businesses in their supply chain access to their support services.
  • Some go it alone. Some small businesses find it worthwhile to make local partnership arrangements ( Contact Nigel Mann 01534 490312 at The Jersey Sports & Spinal Clinic – he can also help advise on how to avoid risk in the workplace.)
  • Some make arrangements through their employer’s liability insurance. Most insurers now offer this sort of service. The Jersey Sports & Spinal Clinic is registered with all major insurers.