A case study conducted by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) into musculoskeletal disorders found evidence to support the continued use of in-house physiotherapy in order to reduce employee absence. The financial implications of paying employees in spite of extended periods of absence are huge, but many musculoskeletal disorders can be avoided with proper occupational physiotherapy and ergonomics treatment from professionals.
HSE Case Study
The HSE’s case study looks at a specific employee’s complaint of back pain which prevented him from working. His company allowed him to reduce his hours and gave him advice about how to better his posture, he was also asked to seek help from his doctor for his ailment. His condition did not improve and he later took sickness absence and, whilst regularly seeing both the company doctor and his GP, remained absent for a total of eight months, paid for by his employer.
The company decided to change the way in which they approached the physical issues faced by their employees and implemented an in-house physiotherapy unit to which staff would be referred through the occupational health unit. The physiotherapists employed by the company were well-versed in training both production line staff and office employees and resolved to see patients within one week of the ailment being brought to their attention. Managers were then sent on courses to better understand the concept and practice of ergonomics, giving them the knowledge to pass on to their staff.
Six months after the occupational physiotherapy unit started, the employee who had previously been off sick complained again about back pain. The in-house physiotherapist saw the employee within two days and total time off was one month with two weeks of rehabilitation, resulting in just six weeks of sick pay.
Due to the rapid response of the in-house team, combined with specialist care and knowledge, the employee was able to return to work in just a fraction of the time compared with the previous absence. In financial terms, there was an 80% reduction with regards to wages lost and a speedier return to productivity. This case study clearly shows a significant change in both respects and points towards a clear case for the implementation of in-house physiotherapy within the workplace.
5th March, 2015