Skip to content

Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd


Editorial Archive

Better Backs

July 2005
Sheila Pantry OBE

British business loses an estimated 4.9 million days to employee absenteeism through work-related back conditions each year, with each affected employee taking an average of 19 days off work, according to the latest figures from the 2003/4 Labour Force Survey. And from information available in other countries, Britain is not unique to work-related back problems - see the various web sites listed in OSHWORLD's subject index under Back Pain and Musculoskeletal disorders!

The charity BackCare meanwhile estimates the overall cost of back pain to the UK - to the health service, business and the economy - at £5 billion per year. Against this background the UK Government Agency Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched its 'Better Backs' campaign. The campaign offers concise, practical tips on how to avoid back-related injuries in the workplace to both businesses and employees via a dedicated microsite

Around 60-80% of adults suffer back pain at some time. Most people manage to continue working, or return to work within a few days or weeks, despite their pain. You do not need to wait until you are completely pain free.

How is it caused?

There are lots of ways you can harm your back.

Why is it an issue?

Back injuries from manual handling are a major cause of occupational ill health and not only in the UK. But remember that:

How does back pain hurt workers?

It's painful in lots of ways. It's physically draining and it can affect your lifestyle, your leisure activities, your ability to sleep and possibly your job prospects.

Your OSHWorld Portal

We hope that you find the information in OSHWORLD useful in your daily work. Globally there are continually new titles, news items, new products so remember to look at the News to find the latest information from a number of sources.

Use OSHWORLD as your portal to many hundreds of validated and authoritative web sites which you can find in the Country and Subject links we offer. New subject topics are constantly brought together on web sites, e.g. drugs and alcohol abuse in the workplace.

This month's FOCUS article is on the EurOhse2005 conference: creating a winning OSH culture, to be held on 30 November 2005 - 1 December 2005 at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, UK. This is the third year for this very popular, informative conference that keeps you up-to-date and provides excellent networking opportunities. Chairmen for the two days will be John Howard OBE, CEO RoSPA and Dr Peter Waterhouse, Robens Institute.

EurOHSE 2005 conference will provide key points for future activities for all those responsible for securing good standards of health and safety in the workplace, and excellent networking opportunities. 14 eminent speakers with backgrounds in government, inspectorates, industry, research and education will discuss a range of topics. The programme will cover four main areas:

Remember to look at the Products and Services on this web site and see what is new and updated, such as Environment and Waste Plus which has attracted users not only from the UK but around the world. It is a unique combination of full text and bibliographic databases concerning all aspects of integrated pollution and prevention control.

Training and conferences... for your 2005 Diary

Look at the latest additions to the Diary of Events and you will see plans have been made already worldwide up to 2006 to have training courses, symposiums and conferences in many places in the world on a wide range of subjects.

Remember that even if you cannot attend these many events, speakers and organisers are often willing to share their knowledge. Look at the details - where possible, we add in the web sites of these events so you can request further information. And do let me know if you are organising any OSHE events so that I can add them to the Diary.

Most information services have a reference shelf where you can quickly check the reference sources - so OSHWORLD brings you a collection of Reference sources and also how to Search the Internet.

Click onto the various Bookshops to order any new document as they are being published. Many of these Bookshops have a constant stream of new titles available.

Please send any suggestions or comments about OSHWORLD - your portal to validated and authoritative information. Remember also to look at our other really useful sites - and why not make a free entry in

Most of all why not try out a 30-day free trial to Don't work harder - work smarter!

Have a zero accident and incident-free year in 2005 in your workplace!