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Bad Backs 3


For one week in October bad back sufferers and their bosses will be able to get special help from the experts over the phone, as the TUC, the Forum of Private Business and BackCare, the organisation for healthy backs, join forces for a major campaign to stamp out back strain in the workplace.

Healthy backs work better launches in the third week of October to coincide with European Week for Health and Safety and BackCare Week. From Monday 16 October to Friday 20 October (9am to 9pm), callers to the campaign's free phoneline 0800 032 0044 will be sent information on tackling back pain, and will also be asked if they would like to be called back by a range of experts, including physiotherapists, chiropractors, ergonomists, solicitors and safety consultants, who can advise on the law, prevention and ways to get back to health and faster.

Every year in Britain small firms lose around 1.2 million working days at a cost of around £100 million as a result of back injuries suffered by their employees. Losing a key member of staff for weeks at a time could be nigh on catastrophic for some small companies, not to forget the immense pain suffered by an individual employee.

With the help of funding from the European Agency for Safety and Health, as part of Healthy backs work better, the three organisations will be distributing posters advertising the phoneline 0800 032 0044 to 100,000 small workplaces across Great Britain.

Also in October, the three organisations will be publicising the results of a major new survey, looking at the extent of back problems, the sources of help used by sufferers, and the current state of knowledge about prevention amongst the bosses of 1500 small firms which are members of the Forum of Private Business.

TUC General Secretary, John Monks said: "Back pain is putting a terrible strain on workers and their employers, especially in small firms. Some workers with back strain have to take months off work, and some suffer so badly they can never work again. By calling the special phone line in October, workers and employers will be able to talk directly to the experts who can help them avoid, prevent and treat back pain."

Stan Mendham, Chairman of the Forum of Private Business said: "Nearly 50% of our members recognise that their employees suffer from back pain. It is imperative that we provide help for these businesses who are the job creators of the economy and who do not have any occupational health support."

Emma Tait, Executive Director of BackCare said: "We urge employers and workers to take active steps to reduce the incidence and impact of back pain in the workplace. Healthy backs not only work better, but also make for good business sense."

Experts signed up so far to provide advice include:

· specialist law firm Irwin Mitchell;

· health and safety consultants Sypol International;

· ergonomics firm System Concepts;

· the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; and

· the British Chiropractors Association.


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