Reduce back pains - by using workstation mats at standing workstations

What effect do musculoskeletal disorders have on days of absence due to illness?

Days of absence of staff due to illness have a considerable influence on the economic performance of a company. Because downtimes generate costs, not only due to failure of machines but also due to absence of people. According to the BKK Health Report of 2020, musculoskeletal disorders account for 24.3% of days of absence due to illness. This is said to be the equivalent of 14.3 days absence per employee due to back pains. And here are the details:

Musculoskeletal disorders were responsible for more than every seventh case of absence and about every fourth day of absence in 2019. Looking at the period between 2009 and 2019, a considerable increase in musculoskeletal disorders is evident. However, the cases of illness have hardly changed over the last four years. A slight increase of 1.7 per cent in the days of absence of the employed members according to selected diagnosis groups was shown in comparison with the previous year.

It is remarkable that nine out of ten of the most important diagnoses in relation to days of absence due to illness belong to the three most important diagnosis groups in incapacity for work affairs: Four diagnoses in all can be ascribed to the group of mental disorders or musculoskeletal disorders and another to the respiratory diseases.


Are men more susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders?

For the days of absence due to musculoskeletal disorders in 2019, a difference in sex for almost all age groups in favour of the men was noticeable. Men were absent from work much more often than women. One must reckon with an average of more than three weeks absence per case for 2019. The days of absence due to musculoskeletal disorders are also those which register the biggest increase in relation to age.


Days of absence in manufacturing and production

The days of absence due to musculoskeletal disorders are particularly high in the branches of industry with a high proportion of physical work. Employees in manufacturing or production, for example, had noticeably high absences. Going into detail, the following occupational groups with the most days of absence due to musculoskeletal orders can be listed:

  1. Building and transport machinery operation
  2. Ceramic and glass craftsmanship
  3. Metalworking
  4. Industrial glass manufacture and processing
  5. Metal surface treatment
  6. Textile technology and production
  7. Supervision and maintenance of the traffic infrastructure
  8. cleaning
  9. Industrial ceramic manufacture and processing
  10. Plastic and rubber manufacture and processing


Focus on back pains and incapacity for work

If the focus is directed onto the individual diagnoses, back pains can still be considered the most frequent cause of illness-related absences from work in this group of illnesses for both men and women. Back pains, along with infections of the airways and depressive episodes, still belong to the three most important individual diagnoses for incapacity for work affairs. The 86.5 cases of incapacity for work due to back pains per 1,000 employed members was expressed in 1,238 days of absence and an average number of days off sick of 14.3 per case.


Counteract back pains with workstation mats!

A field study on the effectiveness of ergonomic workstation mats on muscular fatigue at standing workstations and musculoskeletal disorders conducted by KRAIBURG Matting Systems in cooperation with the Austrian General Accident Insurance Institution (AUVA) clearly shows that the protective floor mats have a positive influence on musculoskeletal disorders. The secret behind the back-friendly anti-fatigue mats from ERGOLASTEC, which carry the AGR seal of approval for back health, is based on the interaction of special geometry sides (surface and rear) which stimulate continuous compensatory movements. This means that the anti-fatigue mats are developed so that the body rocks naturally and the leg and calf muscles remain permanently in slight motion. This reduces one-sided pressure on the spinal discs and ensures a balanced back muscle load. The spine is stabilised. Ergonomic protective floor mats therefore have two essential advantages which have a positive effect on the users’ back health:

  1. Positive effect on the leg muscles
    The muscles show less signs of fatigue at the end of the work day with mat than on the day without mat.
  2. Positive effect on coordination
    Standing on the mat improves coordination. This means an economising of motion control and an increase in the reaction capacity.

The end result: The use of ergonomic workstation mats puts an end to back pains. This benefits not only employees but also the company by considerably reducing the days of absence due to musculoskeletal disorders. 

The workstation mats from ERGOLASTEC can be tested free of charge at any time. Just consult our Sales Team at any time. Our certified ergonomics expert Josef Frauscher can give you additional details about the effect of protective floor mats at workplaces. 


These data are based on the incapacity for work figures of the approximately 4.3 million employed BKK members as well as the associated sub-groups (employed compulsory members and employed voluntary members) in 2019.

BKK Health Report 2020
Mobility – Work – Health
Figures, data, facts with guest contributions from science, politics and practice