Headlines: February 3rd, 2000

The problem of back pain in the workplace is being tackled head on in 19 projects in the private and public sectors. The projects will be funded by a joint Department of Health and Health and Safety Executive ‘Back in Work’ initiative with a 700,000 pound budget.More than 330 organisations from around the country applied for funding from the Back in Work scheme. Back pain is the largest single cause of ill health at work and sickness absence. More than 11 million working days are lost each year due to back pain and this painful condition is estimated to cost 5 billion pounds.

Through the ‘Back in Work’ projects organisations will promote good practice to raise awareness and encourage people to take preventative action as well as providing early access to assessment and treatment and rehabilitation. Results from these projects will be used to develop good practice for all organisations to use to improve the health of their staff.

Projects include staff with musculo-skeletal problems at St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council going ‘back to school’ to be taught relaxation, posture and exercise techniques.

Organisations are encouraged to ‘Sign Up’ to the initiative through the HWI web pages – http://www.ohn.gov.uk/ohn/ohn.htm  – or by sending an e-mail to – signup@doh.gov.uk. Those who ‘Sign Up’ will play a part in the programme and receive a regular newsletter keeping them intouch with developments. .