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New survey reveals 91% of adult female desk workers and 89% of female computer users experience workspace injuries with prevention the best protection

Australian Chiropractors Association 16 mins read
91% of adult women working at a desk experience neck or back pain

MEDIA RELEASE: THURSDAY 5 OCTOBER 2023

New survey reveals 91% of adult female desk workers and 89% of female computer users experience workspace injuries with prevention the best protection.

WORKSPACE WEEK - 2–8 OCTOBER 2023 - Work Well Anywhere

For national WorkSpace Week and Safe Work Month, a new independent survey commissioned by the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) revealed 87% of Australian women aged over 18 have or will suffer a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) (low back, neck and mid back pain, and tension/cervicogenic headaches) with most easily prevented if workers and employers implement some simple strategies in the workspace.

WorkSpace Week, an initiative of the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) is dedicated to minimising workspace WMSDs which are Australia’s leading work health and safety concern costing the economy over $55 billion annually through direct health costs, lost productivity and reduced quality of life of sufferers.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a range of inflammatory and degenerative conditions affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, peripheral nerves and blood vessels that may be caused by a single workspace event, but commonly result from repeated harmful workspace activities over an extended period of time.

The survey of over 1000 Australians conducted by Pureprofile revealed that 60% of women reported suffering low back pain, 52% reported experiencing mid back pain, 49% reported shoulder pain and 56% reported tension or cervical (neck related) headaches as a result of a WMSD, with 22% of women reporting they experience work-related back pain 3+ times per week with half of those experiencing pain daily.

The survey identified of the 506 female respondents, 89% of computer users, 90% of workers who sit for prolonged periods, 89% workers who stand for prolonged periods, 92% of workers who undertake repetitive movements, 95% of women who pull or push for work and 94% who lift for work, have experienced a WMSD.

Dr Ali Young, a chiropractor, author, speaker and former Board Member and Vice President (WA), and a mother of two has extensive experience treating women and advocating for the health of working mothers.

Passionate about enabling women to allow their health to shine, Dr Young shared her concerns about the high number of working women who unnecessarily suffer from WMSDs, saying, our aim is to help prevent the incidences of WMSDs among working women by educating them about workspace risks and providing them with resources and strategies to help prevent WMSDs from jobs known to pose a high risks to spinal health.

“The women most at risk of work-related spinal health injuries work in professions or industries where repetitive actions or body stressing brought about by prolonged standing, sitting, lifting or pushing/pulling is required,” Dr Young said.

“According to the most recent data (2021-22) from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), those most vulnerable to WMSDs are valued professions predominantly undertaken by women who are community and personal service workers such as healthcare, aged care, childcare, NDIS and disability service workers.

“However, while body stressing is the most commonly reported cause of physical injury for serious workers compensation claims (generally) as a result of poorly executed lifting, pushing, pulling or bending; the independent survey revealed working from a desk and computer usage (in an office or at home) can also lead to chronic neck and back pain and tension/cervicogenic headaches if not prevented or treated when injuries first occur,” she said. 

“WMSDs relating to computer use are predominantly due to non-ergonomic workspaces, poor posture and the lack of effective exercise programs that can improve worker spinal health.

“Desk work and using computers at home or in the office were reported as being among the leading triggers for the most common WMSDs with 91% of women (compared to 76% of men) who worked at a desk reporting experiencing a WMSD including low back, neck, mid back and tension/cervicogenic headaches while workplace stress can also trigger a range of work-related WMSDs,” said Dr Young.

“The survey data also revealed that 87% of surveyed women experienced workplace stress with 27% of female WMSD sufferers experiencing regular work-related stress compared to 19% of men.

“91% of ACA Chiropractors treat patients with WMSDs as a result of stress; with women aged 41-50 and 31-40 the most treated patients for WMSDs.

“The survey identified stress as a trigger for 32% female tension or cervicogenic (neck related) headache sufferers, 24% of low back pain sufferers, 22% of female migraine sufferers, 19% of women with mid back pain and 17% of female neck pain sufferers, with each WMSD impacting female workers’ concentration, productivity, social engagement and their overall wellbeing and quality of life,” said Dr Young.

“Considering the national survey results and in light of the worldwide study led by the University of Sydney demonstrating low back pain is the most commonly recorded workspace injury; WorkSpace Week is aimed at prevention and early intervention of WMSDs caused by body stressing, repetitive work, poorly set up non-ergonomic workstations and mental stress,” she said.

“We know that prevention is the best protection so during National WorkSpace Week 2023 the ACA is focussed on preventing work-related spinal health disorders caused by physical and mental stress, repetitive work and poorly set up non-ergonomic workspaces to help minimise workspace injuries and the long-term impact on employers, the economy and the overall health and wellbeing of injured workers.

To help prevent work-related spinal health disorders, the community can access free resources at workspaceweek.org.au including the Ergonomic Checklist for computer users, My Healthy WorkSpace Stretching Poster and Factsheets for headache sufferers and workers who sit, lift, bend and stand for prolonged periods for display in workspaces.

Workers can also listen to the Consult A Chiro Podcast to learn more about maintaining spinal health and download and use the free Straighten Up app, ‘your pocket chiropractor’ to help minimise WMSDs and maximise spinal health and wellbeing to improve productivity so all Australians can work well anywhere.

During WorkSpace Week, Australians are encouraged to host a #StraightenUpAustralia Challenge – a simple three-minute exercise activity using ACA’s Straighten Up app in their workspace to promote working well anywhere and to share video and images of their #MyHealthyWorkspace.

#WorkSpaceWeek - #WorkWellAnywhere - #StraightenUpAustralia - #MyHealthyWorkspace #SafeWorkMonth

- ENDS -

MEDIA CENTRE: Access full report, images, factsheets, stretching guide https://bit.ly/WSW23-Media

For interview requests, ple ase contact: INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS: 02 9518 4744

Alice Collins M: 0414 686 091 E: alice@insightcommunications.net.au

Clare Collins M: 0414 821 957 E: clare@insightcommunications.net.au

 

DR ALI YOUNG - ACA SPOKESPERSONS

Dr Ali Young, Chiropractor, Author, Speaker, Strategist. Former Registration Board Member (WA) and Vice President WA

Dr Ali Young is a Chiropractor with over 20 years’ experience working specifically with families, children and women. She has owned practices and worked in both Western Australia and Queensland, and loves taking care of those children that love that extra jolt of frivolity, playfulness and joy in their healthcare. She is an advocate for Working Mothers, with her book, Work. Mama. Life widely received upon its publication in 2022. She is a mother of two, and now works with women in her Holistic Health Business space, combining these two great loves with her chiropractic work. She is a sought after speaker, MC, and strategist for working mothers in the allied health space who both own businesses, & want to live large whilst avoiding burnout. She has written for most major newspapers around Australia, has a podcast “Work Mama Life” with nearly 20,000 downloads, and provides support in the online space for women and mothers. She has been a chiropractic patient since 15 years of age, and thinks there is no greater gift that providing the support families need to allow their health to shine. 

JOURNALIST NOTES

Select Women’s Statistics - For full statistics download the report https://bit.ly/WSW-WMSD

Type of Musculoskeletal Disorder or injury experienced at work or while working

TOTAL

MALE

FEMALE

Non-Binary

#

% of Total

#

% Total

% of Male

#

% Total!

% of Female

n1001

n493

n1001

n506

2

Back: low back pain or discomfort

616

62%

310

31%

63%

305

31%

60%

1

Back: Mid back pain or discomfort

531

53%

266

27%

54%

264

26%

52%

1

Chronic joint or muscle condition

349

35%

177

18%

36%

172

17%

34%

0

Fracture

137

14%

76

8%

15%

60

6%

12%

1

Headaches: tension or cervicogenic

517

285%

233

23%

47%

282

28%

56%

2

Ligament or tendon injury

247

25%

134

13%

27%

112

11%

22%

1

Migraines

369

37%

188

19%

38%

180

18%

36%

1

Muscle injury or strains

399

40%

210

21%

43%

188

19%

37%

1

Neck pain or discomfort

555

55%

268

21%

43%

286

19%

37%

1

Pinched/compressed nerves

276

28%

137

14%

28%

138

14%

27%

1

Shoulder pain

490

49%

240

24%

49%

249

25%

49%

1

Sprain, strain or dislocation

217

22%

132

13%

27%

85

9%

17%

0

Have Not Experienced ANY of these

133

13%

69

7%

16%

64

6%

15%

0

 

Stress Triggers for WMSDs

  • 32% of women reported stress as the trigger for tension/cervicogenic headaches
  • 24% of women for low back pain
  • 22% of women for migraines
  • 19% of women for mid back pain
  • 17% of women for neck pain or discomfort

 

WMSD Pain

  • 45% of women with migranes reported moderate pain with 18% reporting severe pain
  • 41% of women with choronic joint or muscle pain reported moderate pain with 12% reporting severe pain
  • 35% of women reported moderate low back pain – interfering significantly in their daily life with only 19% reporting it has completely resolved
  • 41% of women reported moderate mid back pain – interfering significantly in their daily life
  • 31% of women reported moderate pain for headaches

 

Chronic WMSD Pain

  • 40% of women reported their low back pain from working developed into chronic pain
  • 43% of women reported a pinched/compressed nerve injury from working has become a chronic condition

 

Workers Compensation

  • 40% of women reported requiring workers compensation for ligament or tendon injuries
  • 39% of women reported requiring workers compensation for sprain, strain or dislocation
  • 21% of women reported requiring workers compensation for mid back pain
  • 27% of women reported requiring workers compensation for chronic joint or muscle conditions
  • 20% for neck pain
  • 31% for pinched or compressed nerves
  • 18% for shoulder pain

                                                                                                   

Workspace Type

Total

Total WMSD

% OF Total WMSD

Male

Male WMSD

% M WMSD

Female

Female WMSD

% F WMSD

Non Binary

Desk – Only

370

313

85%

198

165

83%

172

148

86%

 

Standing – Only

97

81

84%

33

29

88%

64

52

81%

 

Physical – Only

165

148

90%

86

78

91%

78

69

88%

1

Desk+Stand

150

128

85%

71

59

83%

79

69

87%

 

Desk+Physical

70

65

93%

37

33

89%

32

31

97%

1

Stand+Physical

67

57

85%

30

25

83%

37

32

86%

 

Desk+Stand+Physical

82

76

93%

38

35

92%

44

41

93%

 
 

1001

868

87%

493

424

86%

506

442

87%

2

 

Work Type

Total All

Total WMSD

% With WMSD

Male

Male WMSD

% Male WMSD

Female

Female WMSD

%Female  WMSD

Computer work

683

598

88%

348

300

86%

333

295

89%

Lifting

288

268

93%

158

146

92%

127

119

94%

Prolonged sitting

288

268

93%

238

208

87%

193

173

90%

Prolonged standing

433

383

88%

168

158

94%

209

186

89%

Pulling and/or Pushing

379

346

91%

126

119

94%

116

110

95%

Repetitive movements

244

231

95%

168

158

94%

190

175

92%

Never

45.7%

52.6%

19.0%

38.3%

44.8%

26.6%

52.6%

60.2%

1

WORKSPACE LOCATION

Mostly: 3-4 days week | Sometimes: 1-2 days week | Occasionally: Once or twice a month | Seldom: Once or twice a year

Workplace Location

TOTAL

MALE

FEMALE

 

% of ALL

% of WMSD

% ALL

% of Male

% Male WMSD

% ALL

% of Female

% Female WMSD

Non-binary

 

n1001

n868

1001

n293

n424

n1001

n506

n442

n2

Home

Always

5.7%

6.6%

5.1%

5.1%

5.9%

3.2%

6.3%

7.2%

1

Mostly

8.3%

9.6%

7.9%

7.9%

9.2%

4.3%

8.5%

9.7%

0

Sometimes

15.5%

17.9%

16.8%

16.8%

19.6%

7.2%

14.2%

16.3%

0

Occasionally

6.8%

7.8%

8.7%

8.7%

10.1%

2.5%

4.9%

5.7%

0

Seldom

6.0%

6.9%

6.7%

6.7%

7.8%

2.7%

5.3%

6.1%

0

Never

44.5%

51.3%

40.8%

40.8%

47.4%

24.3%

48.0%

55.0%

1

Workplace

Always

43.2%

49.8%

19.9%

40.4%

46.9%

23.2%

45.8%

52.5%

1

Mostly

21.6%

24.9%

11.4%

23.1%

26.9%

10.2%

20.2%

23.1%

0

Sometimes

10.1%

11.6%

5.3%

10.8%

12.5%

4.8%

9.5%

10.9%

0

Occasionally

3.0%

3.5%

1.2%

2.4%

2.8%

1.7%

3.4%

3.8%

1

Seldom

1.6%

1.8%

0.9%

1.8%

2.1%

0.7%

1.4%

1.6%

0

Never

7.3%

8.4%

3.7%

7.5%

8.7%

3.6%

7.1%

8.1%

0

Remote: neither workplace or home

Always

7.7%

8.9%

4.9%

9.9%

11.6%

2.8%

5.5%

6.3%

0

Mostly

5.8%

6.7%

4.0%

8.1%

9.4%

1.8%

3.6%

4.1%

0

Sometimes

7.0%

8.1%

3.7%

7.5%

8.7%

3.3%

6.5%

7.5%

0

Occasionally

8.9%

9.8%

4.4%

8.9%

10.4%

4.0%

7.9%

9.0%

1

Seldom

12.1%

13.9%

6.4%

12.9%

15.1%

5.7%

11.3%

12.9%

0

ABOUT PURE PROFILE – DATA RESEARCH COMPANY

Pureprofile is a global data and insights organisation providing industry-leading online research solutions to agencies, marketers, researchers and brands and businesses. Founded in 2000 and based in Surry Hills, Australia, we operate in North America, Europe and APAC and have delivered solutions for over 750 clients.

Clients include Perpetual; The University of Melbourne, Woolcott Institute, University of Western Australia, Australian Government: The Department of Premier and Cabinet and The London School of Economics and Political Science.

ABOUT WORKSPACE WEEK – 2-8 OCTOBER 2023 – WORK WELL ANYWHERE

WorkSpace Week (2-8 October 2023) is the initiative of the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) dedicated to educating Australians about the importance of minimising workplace injuries so they can work well anywhere.

Held at the commencement of national Safe Work Month (October), WorkSpace Week focusses on prevention, early intervention, non-surgical and drug-free treatments for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) and other spinal health conditions caused by work-related stress, body stressing (lifting etc.), repetitive work and poorly set up workstations.

With WMSDs the leading Work Health and Safety (WHS) problem in Australia, both in frequency and cost; WorkSpace Week aims to inform Australians about the importance of prevention and early intervention to minimise deterioration, reduce the severity of musculoskeletal disorders and foster good spinal health habits to improve the overall health and wellbeing of working Australians.

Those workers most at risk of spine-related injury or conditions include those who undertake lifting, pulling, standing or sitting for extended periods of time, computer work at home or in an office setting, and those who may suffer from a range of spine-related symptoms including headaches, neck and back pain due to workplace stress.

Musculoskeletal disorders are estimated to cost the Australian economy over $55 billion annually through direct health costs, lost productivity and reduced quality of life of sufferers.

Through WorkSpace Week, the ACA aims to promote safe work practices and healthier workspaces for all workers at risk of spine-related injury and musculoskeletal conditions to help improve the spinal health and overall wellbeing of Australian workers in any setting.

Organisations aiming to improve the spinal health and wellbeing of their employees to minimise injuries, and reduce WMSDs impacts on business should visit workspaceweek.org.au to download a range of free resources including instructional posters, factsheets, the Straighten Up App. During WorkSpace Week, Australians are encouraged to host a #StraightenUpAustralia exercise initiative to improve the spinal health so employees can work well anywhere.

ACA WORKSPACE WEEK PREVENTION & INTERVENTION RESOURCES

To promote the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders to improve the spinal health of a wide range of workers, ACA has developed a number of helpful free resources appropriate to computer work and work that involves lifting and bending and extended sitting and standing.

ACA’s resources for employers and employees can help workers learn how to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders to maintain a healthy spine and overall health and wellbeing in workspaces.

The following free resources are available from workspaceweek.org so people can work well anywhere.

  • Straighten Up app – Provides workers with a user friendly spinal health stretching routine
  • Ergonomic Checklist – For computer users to learn how to set up an ergonomic workspace
  • Sitting Factsheet – For those who sit for extended periods to learn how to sit correctly
  • Standing Factsheet – For those who stand for extended periods to learn how to stand correctly
  • Lifting & Bending Factsheet – For those required to move objects to learn how to do it safely
  • Headache Factsheet – To learn how maintaining a healthy spine can minimise headaches
  • My Healthy WorkSpace Stretching Poster – To display in workspaces year round depicting exercises and instructions to help maintain a healthy spine in the workspace
  • Consult A Chiro Podcast – Preventing and managing work-related musculoskeletal disorders

THE AUSTRALIAN CHIROPRACTORS ASSOCIATION

Australian chiropractors conduct 350,000 consultations every week to improve the musculoskeletal health and overall wellbeing of Australians.

The Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) is the peak body representing chiropractors. The ACA promotes the importance of maintaining a healthy spine to improve musculoskeletal health and offers drug-free spinal healthcare and lifestyle advice to help Australians lead and maintain healthy lives. With approximately 3,000 members, the ACA is Australia’s largest chiropractic health body that’s taken a leadership role in promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy spine to maintain the overall health and wellbeing of Australians at home, work or at school.

ACA chiropractors are university trained leaders in chiropractic healthcare. In treating a wide-range of musculoskeletal disorders with specialised non-surgical techniques including specific spinal adjustments, various manual therapies and soft tissue techniques and providing relaxation methods to minimise stress, chiropractors can reduce patient reliance on a range of medication that could be harmful.

Chiropractic healthcare treats the cause, not just the symptoms of a range of painful spinal-health conditions and injuries. In applying clinically proven, effective, drug-free, low risk techniques while offering holistic health and lifestyle advice, chiropractic healthcare helps Australians lead and maintain healthier, happier lives.

CHIROPRACTIC - KEY FACTS

  • Australian educated chiropractors share a common tertiary education pathway with physiotherapists and osteopaths requiring undergraduate and/or masters-level university training over five years.
  • Chiropractors are not only trained to treat musculoskeletal pain patients, chiropractors are also trained to facilitate health promotion and lifestyle advice, rehabilitation and patient education in health and wellbeing.
  • All chiropractors must be registered with the national Chiropractic Board of Australia and meet the Board’s registration standards in order to practice in Australia.
  • All Australian registered chiropractors complete mandatory continuing education annually to maintain registration and practice as a non-pharmacological, non-surgical spine care and musculoskeletal-allied healthcare professional.
  • Australian chiropractors see over 350,000 people each week.
  • Chiropractors play an important role in the spinal health of everyday Australians by using a range of non-surgical techniques including specific spinal adjustments, manual therapy and low-force intervention.
  • Chiropractors offer a drug-free, hands-on approach to spinal healthcare.
  • Growing evidence supports early referral and assessment of patients experiencing musculoskeletal pain to an appropriately qualified musculoskeletal clinician such as a chiropractor.
  • Chiropractors use a patient centred, multi-modal model of healthcare to provide a therapeutic approach incorporating a range of manual therapies to treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions.

 

WMSDs IN AUSTRALIA - KEY FACTS & STATS

THE HEALTH BURDEN OF MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS ON AUSTRALIANS

  • Musculoskeletal conditions are the second largest contributor to disability worldwide, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability globally (MA, 2020-2021).
  • Musculoskeletal conditions account for the greatest proportion of persistent pain conditions (WHO, 2019).
  • Almost 1 in 3 (29%) Australians had a musculoskeletal condition in 2017–18, around 7 million people according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW, 2019).
  • Musculoskeletal conditions cost the Australian economy $55.1 billion in direct health costs, lost productivity and reduced quality of life (MA, 2020-21).
  • The Australian Work Health & Safety Strategy 2012–2022 identifies work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) as the first of its six priority disorders (Safe Work Australia, 2018b).
  • WMSDs include a range of inflammatory and degenerative conditions affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, peripheral nerves and supporting blood vessels (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).
  • WMSDs are the leading WHS problem, both in frequency and cost (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).
  • WMSDs relating to computer use include increased neck and shoulder stiffness due to poor ergonomic workspaces, poor posture and lack of an effective exercise program designed to improve spinal health and stabilise core muscle groups.
  • The total accepted workers compensation injury claims (National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics) for WMSDs in 2015–16 were almost 125,000 (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).
  • Of these, 62,420 (50 per cent) were serious claims for WMSDs (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).
  • Serious claims for WMSD diseases and injuries comprised 58 per cent of all serious claims (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).

WORK-RELATED INJURIES IN AUSTRALIA

  • A worldwide study led by the University of Sydney has proven that lower back pain is the most commonly recorded workplace injury, ranking higher than any other condition (JobFit, 2020).
  • Between 2008-2018, 6.9 million work-related injuries and illnesses occurred - averaging 623,663 annually leading to a 2.2 million FTE productivity loss and incurring $37.6 billion in costs to the health system. (Safe Work Australia 2022).
  • Body stressing, is the most commonly reported cause of injury for serious WMSD claims, arising from handling, lifting, carrying or putting down of objects; followed by slips, trips and falls (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).
  • Physical stress may involve workplace repetitive strain injuries including sore necks and backs caused by long hours at a desk or behind the wheel of a vehicle (Oakman, Clune & Stuckey, 2019).
  • Mental stress may be the result of overwork, conflict with colleagues or bosses (Safe Work Australia 2022).
  • Mental stress can also trigger many other health issues if left unchecked (Safe Work Australia 2022)
  • Stress is the single biggest headache trigger for 70% of Australians suffering headaches followed by poor sleep (59%), neck pain (52%) and sleep position (32%) (ACA, 2023)
  • Most work-related injuries occurred in the workplace (91%) (ABS, 2021-22).
  • 66% had time off as a result of the injury or illness (ABS, 2021-22).
  • More than half of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness were men (58%) (ABS, 2021-22).
  • The occupational groups with the highest rates of work-related injuries are Community and personal service workers, machinery operators and drivers, labourers, technicians and trades workers (ABS, 2021-22).
  • The most common work-related injury types are sprains, strains or dislocations (29%) followed by chronic joint or muscle conditions (20%) (ABS, 2021-22).
  • Most common causes of work-related injuries are lifting, pushing, pulling or bending - 24% (ABS, 2021-22).
  • The injuries or illnesses that had the highest average number of days off work due to work-related injury were stress or other mental health conditions (44 days), fractures or broken bones (29 days) and chronic joint or muscle conditions (22 days) (ABS, 2021-22).
  • It’s common for people with back pain to feel distressed about their recovery. (Better Health Channel 2023)
  • People with persistent back pain can develop fear of movement and activity (including work), worrying that it will make things worse or increase their pain.
  • Living with persistent back pain may also lead to mood issues, such as anxiety, irritability, frustration and depression.

  

ECONOMIC BURDEN OF WORKPLACE INJURIES & ILLNESS ON AUSTRALIA - KEY FACTS

  • The economic burden of WMSDs is significant and the impacts on individuals and society are extensive (Safe Work Australia, 2018b).
  • Health care and compensation costs are substantial, along with loss of income and early retirement.
  • It is estimated that the economic impact of work-related injuries and illness costs the Australian economy $28.6 billion annually (Safe Work Australia, 2022).
  • These work-related injuries lead to a 2.2 million FTE productivity loss and incurred $37.6 billion in costs to the health system.
  • In that time, health expenditure costs as a result were $37.6 billion.
  • Employers felt an even bigger burden to the tune of $49.5 billion.
  • WMSDs account for the majority of workers’ compensation costs (Safe Work Australia, 2018b).
  • Employer overheads from workers’ compensation claims and the costs incurred from hiring and training new staff were estimated to cost $49.5 billion over the reference period, or an average of $4.5 billion per year.
  • Average annual employer overheads were highest for the Health industry ($513.8 million), followed by Public Administration ($430.2 million) and Construction services ($388.3 million) (Safe Work Australia, 2022).

PREVENTION & EARLY INTERVENTION TO MINIMISE WORKPLACE INJURIES & ILLNESS

Prevention is better than cure - Early intervention can prevent injuries, ailments or illnesses from deteriorating and reduce severity while early chiropractic healthcare can help minimise the long-term impact spine-related injuries and conditions have on workers and employers.

  • Stress, both physical and mental, tends to respond well to early intervention.
  • Early intervention has been found to have positive effects for employees, including recovery outcomes, capacity to remain at work, the length of time away from work, the likelihood of further absence due to sickness and how they view the workplace.
  • Implementing positive spinal health habits when working with computers includes using an ergonomic office chair, adjusting laptops to eye level; and positioning knees slightly below the hips when sitting can help prevent spinal injuries when using computers.
  • Early intervention provides benefits for the employer and the workplace, including fostering a productive and supportive work environment, demonstrating that management is committed to employees, increasing the likelihood of return to work, reducing the cost of incapacity in the long term, premiums, and reducing indirect costs such as lost productivity, recruitment and training costs for replacement staff (Comcare, 2022).

REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2023). Work-related injuries - People who experienced a work-related injury or illness, including type of injury, job details and work-related injury rates 2021-22 financial year: Published 15 February 2023, Accessed 28 July 2023:   https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-working-conditions/work-related-injuries/latest-release#

Australian Health Alliance. (2023, January 18). Common work-related health issues in Australia. AHA Clinics. https://ahaclinics.com.au/2023/01/19/common-work-related-health-issues/

Driscoll T, Jacklyn G, Orchard J, et al, (2014). The global burden of occupationally related low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study (The University of Sydney & Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2014;73:975-981). https://ard.bmj.com/content/annrheumdis/73/6/968.full.pdf 

JobFit. University of Sydney’s worldwide study on back pain https://www.jobfit.com.au/back-injury-prevention-tips/

Mekhora, K., Liston, C. B., Nanthavanij, S., & Cole, J. H. (2000). The effect of ergonomic intervention on discomfort in computer users with tension neck syndrome. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 26(3), 367–379.  Accessed 20 July 2023 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0169814100000123     

Musculoskeletal Australia. (2020). Musculoskeletal Australia 2020–21 Pre-budget Submission. Accessed 27 July 2023 https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/115786_MUSCULOSKELETAL_AUSTRALIA.pdf

Safe Work Australia. (2022). Safer, healthier, wealthier: The economic value of reducing work-related injuries and illnesses (Deloitte Access Economics October 2022 for Safe Work Australia), Accessed 28 July 2023. www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-10/final_safer_healthier_wealthier_theeconomic_value_of_reducing_work-relatedinjuries_and_illnesses_-_summary_report%2002.pdf  

Safe Work Australia. (2019). Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Australia (Associate Professor Jodi Oakman, Dr Sam Clune and Dr Ruth Stuckey at the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors, La Trobe University). www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1912/work-related_musculoskeletal_disorders_in_australia_0.pdf

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). (2016, January). Exercise for chronic low back pain. HANDI - Interventions. https://www.racgp.org.au/clinical-resources/clinical-guidelines/handi/handi-interventions/exercise/exercise-for-chronic-low-back-pain

The University of Sydney. (2023). Opioids no more effective than placebo for acute back and neck pain. Published 29 June 2023. Accessed 14 July 2023. www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2023/06/29/opioids-no-more-effective-than-placebo-for-acute-back-and-neck-p.html

The World Health Organisation. (2023). Low back pain. Published 19 June 2023. Accessed 27 July 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/low-back-pain  


Key Facts:

+ 87 of adult women reported experiencing a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD)

+ 91% of women (compared to 76% of men) who worked at a desk reported experiencing a WMSD including low back, neck, mid back and tension/cervicogenic headaches while workplace stress can also trigger a range of work-related WMSDs.

+ Desk work and using computers at home or in the office were reported as being among the leading triggers for the most common WMSDs for women

+ 90% of female workers who sit and 89% who stand for prolonged periods reported a WMSD

 

+ 27% of female WMSD sufferers experience regular work-related stress compared to 19% of men


Contact details:

INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS: 02 9518 4744

Alice Collins M: 0414 686 091 E: alice@insightcommunications.net.au

Clare Collins M: 0414 821 957 E: clare@insightcommunications.net.au

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