Back injuries blight farming – HSE

BACK PAIN affects one in three farmers every day, according to a Health and Safety Executive survey.

Conducted as part of the executive’s Better Backs campaign the survey reveals that one in three (33%) suffer back pain either all of the time or most days.

The survey was complemented by straw polls of farmers attending HSE safety Awareness Days which found that about 80% admitted to having a ‘bad back’.

These do not always lead to days off work

“In fact, of those interviewed, only 20% of agricultural employees needed to take time off in the last 12 months as a result of their back pain,” said the HSE’s Elizabeth Gyngell.

A bad back can, however, cause considerable misery, impacting not only on morale and productivity, but also family life and hobbies, she said.

“Despite the mechanised advantages of modern methods farming still needs significant amounts of manual handling.

“That said, there still needs to be increased awareness on what can cause back injury and, more importantly, a shift in attitude on the severity of the problem from ‘it won’t happen to me’ to ‘I won’t let it happen to me’,”  Ms Gyngell added.

The Health & Safety Executive’s Better Backs campaign aims to raise awareness about the cost of back injury to businesses and offers concise, practical tips on how to reduce back-related conditions to both businesses and employees. 


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