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Economy suffers from back pain

Back problems cost the economy more than SFr4 billion ($3.8 billion) every year, according to a report presented on Wednesday.

This content was published on September 9, 2009 - 10:27

The study, commissioned by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Seco, says back pain and other musculoskeletal problems are responsible for 26 per cent of absences on health grounds, more than any other issue.

It says that working conditions are often responsible for causing or aggravating these problems, and points out that employers are obliged by law to prevent health risks.

Seco, together with the Suva accident insurance fund and the cantonal labour inspectors, is launching a two-year operation to tackle ways to prevent back pain. It will run from 2010 to 2011.

The report points out that back pain and related problems not only cause production losses, but also add to social security costs, since some sufferers qualify for invalidity benefit or take early retirement.

These additional costs were not included in the report because of a lack of data.

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