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Reducing Back Pain – The search for best practice


Cleaning staff are one of the highest risk groups in terms of strain injury at work, particularly back pain and arm pain associated with floor polishing, vacuuming and mopping activities.

A recent survey of 5000 cleaners working mainly in the health, education and local authority sectors, found that almost a quarter had been absent from work due to work-releated aches and pains over a 12 month period. Many of these injuries are avoidable.

It doesn't have to be like this. What is required is the spread of good training and practice. There are in fact many straightforward, practical solutions to even those activities carrying the highest risk. That is the message that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is reiterating.

To help industry meet the challenge, HSE and UNISON are again collaborating to build on last year's seminar which reviewed research into the industry's problems. HSE and UNISON have now commissioned research from the Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics, University of Surrey, to produce guidance based on case studies demonstrating practical solutions to every day problems.

HSE would welcome examples of good practice with reference to how particular problems have been tackled. A brief description should outline:-

  1. the problem and how it came to light
  2. the solution and how it was developed (e.g. who was involved)
  3. the costs and the benefits
  4. handy tips.

If you have information you think might be useful, please pass it on to Mrs Nancy Hamilton at HSE, 59 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3UE or alternatively telephone her on 0131 247 2100.

The examples of good practice have to reach Mrs Hamilton by 23 December 2000 at the latest.


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