Could back pain be hindering workplaces?A recent report into the prevalence of lower back pain in European workplaces has revealed that chronic musculoskeletal pain affects 100 million people on the continent, which could be having negative consequences for absence management.

The study by The Work Foundation has warned that physical strain, repetitive movement or
poor posture are all causal factors of such back pain, but that while work could be an aggravator, it could also prove a cure.

"In all cases there is clear evidence that well-designed work environments and flexible working arrangements can support job retention and phased return to work, and that work – especially if it is good work – can be good for health, well-being and recovery," the study noted.

Early interventions advised by the group which could make a difference include internal health care systems, reasonable accommodation and workplace health and safety screening.

The Health and Safety Executive recently advised that health and safety in the workplace may be improved by encouraging employees to take a more proactive approach to the issue.