Arinite Blog


Work-Related Health Cases – the Problem That Never Goes Away

Category: Health & Safety | Jan Mirkowski Twitter | Published on: Jan 2, 2019 | Updated: Jan 7, 2019 Read more: Health & Safety

Full marks to the Health & Safety Executive for the graphical appeal of their annual statistics report.

The following image appears in their 2017/2018 report – and underlines once again the “health” in health & safety.

The 0.6million non-fatal injuries are dwarfed by work-related ill-health cases and stress (2.0million combined).

As ever, musculoskeletal disorders loom large (0.5million cases).

An irritated factory manager once argued that I should not record back injuries as workplace accidents – we eventually came to a gentleman’s agreement to record them as “incidents” instead.  He reasoned, soundly enough, that bad backs are rarely traceable to a defined moment in time, but to a gradual degenerative condition of the spine.

Manual handling training courses usually show at some stage a cutaway diagram of the human spine, with its distinctive “S”-shaped curves.  It’s not rocket science though.  The spine is like any other mechanical device and the more it is used, the sooner it can wear out.  Whilst the vertebrae (bones) are comparatively robust, the discs, being made from cartilage, are prone to tearing and if damaged, take a very long time to heal – if they heal at all (not being well nourished by a blood supply).

We probably all know someone with back pain and how long it can incapacitate.  The condition of so-called “slipped” or prolapsed discs does not, however, have to be inevitable.

Encouraging people to be lazy?

Minimise the amount of rotation, pushing, pulling, repetition, and over-reaching or, as the Manual Handling Regulations demand: “avoid” the need for manual handling.  In short, we are encouraging people to be lazy!  Easier said than done of course, because your businesses invariably need products to be moved from one place to another.

Arinite’s factsheet 0280 on manual handling however gives some helpful hints on how to meet the Manual Handling Regulations and avoid this debilitating and costly condition – and staying out of HSE annual statistics.

Contact us

Arinite clients appreciate we provide practical, no-nonsense advice about what you need to do to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. Our team of health and safety consultants take pride in keeping health and safety simple.

If you need to call upon our expert assistance, or just for an informal chat, please call our office 0207 947 9581, or type an enquiry to:

Jan Mirkowski


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