date: 29 September 2009
embargo: 00.01hrs 30 September 2009
Responding to the Work Foundation report on the cost of muscle and back pain, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'This report highlights what trade unions have been demanding for many years, which is access to early rehabilitation for those with muscle and back problems.
'In the UK just two per cent of workers have access to comprehensive occupational health services through their employer and most people have to rely on a referral from their GP. This can take many months, by which time the problem may be chronic.
'We need a national occupational health service which identifies and treats these conditions at the earliest opportunity. Workers with muscle and back conditions also need more help to return to work once they feel able to.
'Many of these illnesses are caused or made worse by work. The huge number of cases shows that the current European regulations on manual handling and working on computers are failing to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
'We urgently need new and clear regulations, backed up by strong enforcement against those employers that are causing many of these injuries.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The TUC's latest edition of Hazards at Work, published this month, contains valuable information and advice on muscle and back conditions. Copies are available from the TUC publications department on 020 7467 1294.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
Issued: 30 September, 2009