Support through your toughest HR challenges: A network of 285,000 HR professionals.
Shawn Premer shows how doing the right thing for employees leads to positive business results.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Employees suffering from back pain have more absenteeism and presenteeism
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Back pain not only takes a toll on the quality of employees’ lives but affects workers’ productivity as well. Nearly one in four U.S. employees report experiencing lower-back pain, costing businesses $51,400 annually per 100 employees in lost productivity and medical treatments, a 2013 report by the nonprofit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) found.
Lost work time and underperformance on the job (presenteeism) due to low-back pain costs employers $34,600 per 100 workers, according to IBI Chronic Disease Profile: Low Back Pain.
Employees with back pain are absent four more days per year than those without this ailment and have the equivalent of 4.4 more days of presenteeism annually. The cost of less work time and presenteeism makes up more than two-thirds of the total cost of low-back pain to employers, according to IBI, a workforce health and productivity research and measurement organization.
The components of the $34,600 price tag per 100 workers are as follows:
“Employers stand to benefit from understanding the extent of back pain in their workforce and helping employees prevent, treat and manage their pain,” IBI President Tom Parry told SHRM Online.
People with low-back pain also have an average of nearly five related conditions that complicate care strategies. The conditions that contribute the most to lost productivity are:
Treating Back Pain
Low-back pain can be triggered by a variety of causes, including strain, injury, congenital conditions and serious medical problems, such as a ruptured disc. Most back pain can be treated nonsurgically with medication and physical therapy. Episodes of pain can be prevented by using proper techniques for sitting, working and exercising.
Good starting points for managing the full costs of low-back conditions include:
Most cases of low-back pain can be resolved in a relatively short time with low-cost workplace-based interventions such as job accommodation.
“Assuming that all interventions offered are high-quality, a cost-effective strategy is to use a stepped approach to treatment beginning with workplace-based interventions, followed by more structured medical and vocational rehabilitation,” said Parry.
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Related SHRM Articles:
'Disability Divide' Persists Between Employers and Employees, SHRM Online Benefits, June 2013
Easing Back Pain, HR Magazine, April 2008
Chronic Pain Takes Increasing Toll on U.S. Productivity, HR News, March 2007
Related SHRM Video:
Understanding the Full Costs of Health. Data-based behavioral health interventions can reduce absenteeism and increase productivity, says Tom Parry, president of the Integrated Benefits Institute.
SHRM Online Benefits page
SHRM Online Health Care Reform Resource Page
SHRM Online Wellness Programs Resource Page
Compensation & Benefits e-NewsletterTo subscribe to SHRM's weekly Compensation & Benefits e-newsletter, click the link above. To see all of the SHRM e-newsletters, click below.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Become a SHRM Member
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies