That’s from the 2010 National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Annual Statistical Bulletin. Said to be the “tip of the iceberg” because for every worker with an open claim there can be untold numbers of them working with unreported low back pain (following what’s known as the “natural history”). Disability and absenteeism is greatly increased by these numbers; productivity can be greatly decreased. These are some of the indirect costs.
The low back is one of the highest risk areas of injury whether in an office or industrial environment. Many employers are now asking themselves if a de-conditioned (weak) workforce might increase that risk even more. I have already mentioned what most medical doctors believe is the most important issue. And I have argued repeatedly over the years that it isn’t just alignment, it isn’t just weakness: it’s that AND the movement patterns (proper technique) which includes the alignment aspects and isn’t possible without adequate strength. (However, weak or strong, we still have to bend and lift!)
Companies that identify risks early and provide solutions on-site have a tremendous opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Most initiatives to accomplish this fail however for a variety of reasons, partly because most safety initiatives simply fail to follow through.
Improved employee health and productivity, decreased time loss expenditures and health care costs are strong incentives for competitive companies. Prevention is possible. You can measure and teach alignment, strength and proper movement all at once. With repetition you can decrease risk and increase safety. And you can measure that.
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