According to the balance sheet of the Accidents at Work - Occupational Diseases (AT-MP) branch of the Social Security, the number of occupational accidents fell in 2016 compared to 2015. However, more and more employees are suffering from back pain.

back pain at work

More and more people suffer from back pain at work

Would back pain be the evil of the century for workers? While the number of work-related accidents has dropped significantly in one year (33.8 cases per 1,000 employees in 2016, compared with 33.9 cases in 2015), low back pain is clearly on the rise. In 2016, it accounted for 20% of work-related accidents, 7 points more than in 2005. The people who suffer the most back pain include construction and public works employees.

But this is not the only sector affected: people working in the human services sector are experiencing an increase in work stoppages due to low back pain. According to the report, there has even been a 45% increase in accidents in this sector over the past ten years. Not surprisingly, caring for the elderly or disabled can be very strenuous.

1 billion euros for health insurance

These low back pain conditions are to be taken seriously, as sufferers have to stop working for an average of two months. This represents a cost for the company but also for the Social Security. In total, according to this balance sheet, low back pain costs the Health Insurance 1 billion euros. Together with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and asbestos-related pathologies, this is the largest compensation item.

MSDs, which are generally due to repetitive movements, have however declined by 4% in one year. As for asbestos-related diseases, they decreased by 9.5%. Along with low back pain, the illnesses that are increasing in the world of work are mental illnesses: in 2016, the Social Security system received three times as many requests for coverage as in 2011. Requests following what is now known as "burn-out". 

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