The cost-effectiveness of a back education program for firefighters: a case study

Kim, Peter; Hayden, Jill A.; Mior, Sivano A.
March 2004
Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association;Mar2004, Vol. 48 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
Summary of background data: Low Back Pain (LBP) is one of the most common causes of disability in the working population, and its impact on industry is enormous. The high financial costs of LBP and its apparent relationship with working conditions have led to efforts to prevent this condition. Several reviews have suggested that there is considerable potential for multi-modal preventive interventions to cost-effectively reduce the overall burden of illness. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to assess the feasibility of implementing a multi-faceted back injury prevention program in the community, and to assess the effectiveness of this program. Study design: A case study involving 92 firefighters from a suburb north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Methods: A back education program, called the Back Informed Program, was conducted on-site by a trained chiropractor It offered employees job-specific education, ergonomic advice, exercises and pain management, as well as hands-on practice sessions. Data on absenteeism due to back injury, and cost of lost work days due to back injury were collected between January 1995 and December 1996. Data were compared to a municipality that received no such program during the same time period. Secondary outcomes, including information attained among the workers were qualitatively assessed. Absenteeism and financial data were used to demonstrate the potential efficacy of such a program.


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