A Survey published by the HSE reported that in 2019/20 there were an estimated 480,000 workers affected by musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s). Without early intervention, MSD’s can become chronic and long-standing health conditions. These complications can lead to a decrease in an individual’s productivity, causing a disruptive ripple effect throughout the whole business. Providing education, prevention and rehabilitation is key to any business with a manual or static workforce.
With 17,000 employees across multiple UK sites, Bakkavor is the UK’s leading fresh prepared food manufacturer with a mission to offer great-tasting and convenient food to people around the world.
Bakkavor is committed to the health and wellbeing of its employees. With a wide range of manual handling tasks, repetitive activities and sustained postures, the risk of MSDs in manufacturing are high and absence data from Bakkavor’s site at Holbeach demonstrated that MSD related injuries were an issue, with 286 days lost on average every month.
In February 2020, Sano started working with Bakkavor and began a 6-month trial of an onsite physiotherapy clinic at their site in Holbeach. Due to the restrictions and disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, these 6 months were separated by a 5-month break in the middle meaning the pilot concluded at the end of December instead of July.
The focus of the pilot was to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism as well as facilitate a smooth return to work for absent employees. Data gathered prior to the pilot demonstrated an average length of absence for long term MSD related injuries of 44.7 days per employee.
Sano’s on-site physiotherapy services aim to reduce days lost due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders, through our physiotherapy assessment & treatment clinics. Our Physiotherapists are able to see employees regularly and implement successful treatment plans that are specific to each individual. During the pandemic we also carried out video consultations for those patients who were isolating or working from home, meaning their treatment did not have to wait until they returned to site.
With direct access to a bespoke practice management system Bakkavor’s Occupational Health team were able to book employees directly into the clinic and review case files and treatments progress immediately. During the pilot period we found our clinic was consistently fully booked and that managers and employees all praised the services as being a great asset.
As an addition we created and provided bespoke content aimed at empowering employees in manual roles to self-manage their back symptoms, which was featured in Bakkavor’s in-house “Just Made” company magazine and received exceptional feedback.
The pilot produced some outstanding results:
- A reduction in MSK related sickness absence at the Holbeach site of 72%.
- A return to work on average, within just 17.6 days of their assessment and required just 1.7 treatment sessions to facilitate a return to work.
- 682 MSK-related sick days for Bakkavor prevented
In just 6 months, Sano were able to demonstrate a significant saving in employee absence costs at the Holbeach site and demonstrated an 8-fold ROI alongside multiple intangible benefits.
Using data analysis we identified some ‘at risk’ departments and were able to work with Bakkavor’s occupational health and employee wellbeing colleagues to recommend proactive and preventative strategies to address the MSK-related risks such as the development of new acute conditions and existing conditions becoming chronic.
Alongside financial ROI, there were multiple benefits to Bakkavor employees that have been collated from employee satisfaction questionnaires:
|How likely are you to recommend the service to a friend or colleague? (scale 0 – 10)||9.06|
|Do you feel that this service has met your needs?||100% said yes|
|Has this service helped you manage the physical demands of your job?||94.1% said yes|
|Do you think this service has shortened your recovery time and/or period of incapacity||100% said yes|
|Do you feel this service has decreased the probability of you needing to go off sick from work?||82.4% said yes|
|If you have been off work, did attending the service make it easier to be able to return to work quicker?||88.2% said yes|
Other notable comments from employees:
- “The physio explained everything in detail and helped increase my confidence to return to work”
- “I was more confident managing my pain after seeing the physio”
- “I feel much less pain in my shoulder at work when using the machines”
- “My neck and shoulder are much better after just 2 sessions.”
- “Advice and exercises were helpful. I can now return to work more confidently. I will be recommending my work friends to come if they have any issues with their back”
Following the success of this pilot, Bakkavor has confirmed a multi-site roll-out of Sano’s services across the group. Sano are looking forward to benefitting more of their employees on a wider scale.