While it may seem common and hardly severe, employee back pain has a massive impact on businesses. The impact can be seen in a company’s overall productivity as well as its bottom line, and many businesses struggle to properly address the problem. With that, how exactly does back pain affect businesses, and what steps can be taken to create a solution?
The Causes of Back Pain
Almost all industries are affected by employee back pain, and the causes range from prolonged sitting to stress and anxiety.
However, industrial and labor-based industries are particularly affected. Work-related back pain occurs frequently with injuries related to lifting heavy loads and even operating machinery that vibrates, such as a forklift or front-end loader.
Due to the nature of industries where these injuries are common, business leaders must be aware of these causes and take time to address them.
Aside from the significant effects on general employee welfare, back pain can cause significant financial strain on businesses. According to the IBI Chronic Disease Profile for Low Back Pain, the total cost to employers for back pain amounts to $34,600 per 100 employees per year. When broken down, these costs include:
- Sick Days: $13,100
- Presenteeism: $8,300
- Short-Term Disability: $7,100
- Long-Term Disability: $4,200
- Worker’s Compensation: $1,900
Employees that experience back pain typically call in sick 4 more days per year than those without a similar ailment.
Employees that have back pain also have 4.4 more days of presenteeism per year. This means they do show up to work, but their productivity is severely affected due to pain and discomfort.
Prevention is the Best Solution
The key to solving the problems that back pain can cause is early acknowledgement and proper prevention methods.
- Encourage your employees to stay active and exercise regularly. This will help strengthen muscles, reduce inflammation, and increase overall health and resiliency.
- Teach your employees proper lifting procedures. Ensure that your employees are lifting with their legs and not their back. This alone can prevent a great deal of back injuries.
- Ensure a safe workplace. Trips, slips, and falls can lead to severe back injuries, so it is crucial to make safety a top business priority.
- Invest in equipment that removes lifting from the equation entirely. If your business often moves material from one level to another, your employees are at risk of back strain and injuries.
A material lift (VRC) may be the piece of equipment your business needs to make your operation safer and more productive now and in the long run. Contact us today to speak with one of our experts and find out if your operation could benefit from one of our material lifts.