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Annie Hayes

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Posture is a pain in the back for bosses

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Just over a quarter of employers provide their employees with posture supporting chairs despite findings which suggest the problems of back pain costs £5bn each year.

Serviced office provider, MWB Business Exchange and YouGov found that just 27 per cent of businesses provided the right chairs for their staff. Workers in the Capital were the best off; 31 per cent of employers said they made provision for orthopedic chairs. The Midlands and Wales were the worst regions with only 24 per cent of businesses providing orthopedic chairs. The Office of National Statistics suggests the cost of back pain amounts to over £5bn each year.

The findings complement research from ViewSonic Europe which found that over 70 per cent of UK computer workers suffer in silence from back, neck and shoulder pain, eye fatigue and headaches and almost as many would be prepared to seek compensation from their employer if they developed a work-related health issue.

“It’s worrying that so few companies have yet to provide proper chairs for their employees,” commented John Spencer, chief executive of MWB Exchange. “Back pain is not only a disabling injury for the employee, but it also costs businesses a substantial amount of money in terms of sick pay, and hiring temporary cover. Buying proper supportive chairs has to make sense for the health and wealth of British businesses.”

Last month, HR Zone reported on a new program that helps protect computer uses from back-pain, repetitive stress injury and other occupational hazards.

One Response

  1. Posture is in the mind
    Etcom’s experience directly matches that of ViewSonic, that over 70% of computer users suffer pain or discomfort at work. Furthermore, about a fifth use the words “pain” or “severe pain” to describe this.

    BUT: it is not just better chairs or screens or layouts or assessments or reminders that will improve the situation, it is education. The reason is simple: the only person who can change posture is that person him or herself. And if they do not know how, they cannot be expected to succeed.

    When they do understand and know how to avoid pain, they will generally apply their lessons and be more comfortable and efficient. We at Etcom support the aims of the program referred to in http://www.hrzone.co.uk/item/171043 but believe that a reminder is no use unless it is reminding the person to do something they know how to do!

    Incidentally, it is not just back pain, but pain almost anywhere that can arise from poor work posture, including wrist, arm and neck pain and pains in the legs.

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Annie Hayes

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