Fleet News

Back pains cost £5bn a year

ARE you sitting comfortably? Probably not, according to industry experts who estimate that sick leave due to back pain is costing 116 million sick days and losing industry more than £5 billion a year. Company car drivers are one of the most vulnerable groups because of the amount of time they spend behind the wheel.

The transport unit at ICE Ergonomics, part of Loughborough University, has undertaken research into the problem to explain the causes of back pain and offer practical advice on how to minimise it. ICE is one of the largest ergonomic and research departments in the UK, aimed at making items easier, safer and more comfortable to use. Its research has shown that one of the best solutions to the problem of back ache is education, including showing people how to try out the vehicle properly before purchasing it and taking a break from driving by stretching your legs every 45 minutes.

Sharon Cook, a principal consultant in the transport unit at ICE, said: 'If the correct measures are put in place, there are real benefits to be gained by drivers in terms of avoiding back pain and disability and by their employers in terms of the reduction in absenteeism and avoidance of the growing trend for litigation. A copy of ICE Ergonomics' publication, 'does your car seat fit you?' is available for £1.95 plus 31p postage and packaging from ICE on 01509 283300.

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