Some 60% to 90% of people will suffer from lower-back disorders at some time — one of the main reasons for absenteeism, says Richard Andrews, the MD of Inspiration Office, a furniture consultancy. "Data from a European survey ... reveals that 30% of European workers suffer from back pain, which tops the list of all reported work-related disorders." Call-centre workers, lawyers, bankers and receptionists have higher rates of back pain, because their "jobs require long hours of sitting with little opportunity to move around", says Andrews. "Poor ergonomic work factors increase the load or strain on the back." He has the following advice to prevent lower-back disorders: Workers must use ergonomically sound chairs; Employees must sit correctly — the right distance from their computers and at the correct height; Those with back problems should have access to medical help to address the problem before it gets too serious; and Desk-bound workers must be encouraged to get up and move around...

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