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Preventing work-related back and neck pain

Conducting work health and safety training as well as upholding best practices to support employees’ well-being in the workplace can all too easily seem like just another formality everyone has to go through. However, it’s arguably one of the most important obligations employers and HR departments have towards their staff.

That’s because work-related injuries and incidents both endanger workers and have negative consequences for the enterprise. Take, for example, a recent study that highlighted the prominence of back pain as an occupational injury. According to the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA)*, the Australian-led research found the ailment is the leading cause of work-related disability worldwide.

“Back pain is the leading cause of time off work in Australia and we urgently need to improve information and preventative health care support available to workers,” Victorian President of the CAA Helen Alevaki said.

“Each year, back pain costs billions of dollars in lost productivity in Australia. Research has indicated that 25 per cent of sufferers aged 18-44 take 10 or more days off each year.”

While back pain is especially prominent in agricultural and manual jobs, office environments can also contribute to both back and neck pain. Fortunately, there are steps people can take to decrease the likelihood their professional activities will lead to this condition.

Here are a few practical tips to keep in mind for office work health and safety:

  1. Set up workstations to ergonomic standards that optimise your posture.
  2. Get up and move around every 20-30 minutes.
  3. Reduce clutter under desk that causes awkward sitting positions.
  4. Ensure the keyboard is at a comfortable angle for your wrists.
  5. Position your computer screen so the top is at or slightly below eye level.

For additional tips on reducing occupational risks, employers can have their workers complete office worker training with which address a range of hazards for particular industries.

*Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, “Back pain – world’s top cause of work-related disability”.

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