Keyline adopts proactive approach to physical health to reduce staff back pain


Construction organisation Keyline takes a preventative approach to employee health and wellbeing to minimise the risks of musculoskeletal back pain, which can be exacerbated by physical and manual labour, as well as sedentary, desk-bound working.

The organisation, which has 1,200 employees across 65 sites in the UK, runs regular wellness sessions, which aim to encourage staff to get up from their desks at timely intervals and move around the office to lessen potential musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risks. The organisation has also completed branch manager training, empowering senior leaders in the business to look after their teams’ wellbeing by informing them about healthy eating and hydration, and how they can support individuals in these areas. These measures act to help increase employee fitness and wellbeing, counteracting potential instances of back pain which was anecdotally found to be a persistant problem within the business.

Keyline also has measures in place to help prevent manual handling injuries and MSD-related back complaints that could arise among manual workers, who make up 75% of the working population. This includes instructing employees to complete a warm-up before heading outside to work in the yard in cold conditions, which helps to prevent pulled muscles. This would typically include static stretching.

The organisation has also introduced new mechanical working practices to lessen the physical lifting load on employees, using systems such as hydraulic grabs for forklifts and shrink-wrap machines to reduce the weight lifted by each employee, as well as decrease the amount of bending and twisting performed by staff.

Kieran Griffin, managing director at Keyline, says: “We can do all the manual handling training we like, but unless we start doing things differently, we’re just going to continue creating this legacy of back complaints in the business.”