According to the latest report by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP), the health of the nation could be dramatically improved if methods of Musculo Skeletal Disorder (MSD; injuries affecting posture) prevention, such as physiotherapy and ergonomic equipment were provided by employers.
This would also go a long way to reduce costs within the health service, within companies and payouts from benefits schemes. This compliments a report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which found many of the same conclusions.
Issues highlighted by the report are the estimated £7.4 billion being lost by companies due to employee absences due to ill health, of which a third is related to MSDs. This is a fact that is constantly being investigated and a new figure is estimated periodically. But the report then goes on to mention a less obvious figure; £15 billion in estimated losses due to employees turning up to work with health problems. The report claims that many employees will prefer to go to work with problems affecting their health rather than take days off because they fear for their jobs or because of other reasons.
Using the Health and Safety Executive statistical data the CSP found that 538,000 people in Great Britain suffer from MSDs. The CSP report suggests that providing physiotherapist based care and ergonomically designed equipment for these people will prevent further absences and return employees to health more quickly.
Included within the report were testimonials by companies who had seen returns on the use of preventative measures:
- Anglian Water saw returns of £3 for every £1 they spent
- York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw returns of £2 for every £1
- Royal Mail saw returns of £5 for every £1
- A PriceWaterhouseCoopers call centre saw an even more impressive £34 to £1 return on investment
The bottom line of the report is that a significant proportion of the country’s workforce suffer from MSDs and this costs the British economy tens of billions of pounds. Physiotherapy is the first port of call for treatment of MSDs, but complementary to physiotherapy is ergonomic office equipment, which if prescribed early enough can even prevent MSDs ever appearing.
From ergonomic chairs for lower back pain, the most common MSD, ergonomic mice and keyboards for RSI, all the way to simple DSE assessments (required by the government for all UK employers) there are many cost-effective ways of improving the health of your employees.
Read on to find out how you can drastically improve your workspace in a few simple steps.