Headlines: April 10th, 2002

Some 40 per cent of all workers are in jobs that involve lifting or moving heavy loads for at least a quarter of the time, and about 10 million workers may be at risk. These figures include many in local government and the health service. In the London Borough of Enfield it is estimated that almost 10 per cent of all sickness absence is a result of back or musculoskeletal problems.Because fast recovery of anyone suffering a musculoskeletal (MSI) injury means an earlier return to work and a reduction of absenteeism, a fast-track treatment service has been devised . MMS National Ltd, is a practical solution to a major industrial problem.The service utilises a network of over 2,000 physical therapists nationwide.

Musculoskeletal injury responds well to early treatment and the scheme avoids the GP referral process, which can take weeks. Other factors which contribute to reducing absenteeism costs by some 47% include monitoring each absence, gathering data on injuries and providing advice on a risk management strategy. Training and redesign of equipment also play a part in reducing the hazard.