CSP says if staff and employers continue they could be at risk.
New research from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has revealed that one in four people in the UK are working all day without a break and therefore putting their health at risk.
The UK wide survey showed over a third of staff regularly work through their lunch break, with nearly a quarter taking no lunch break at all. Half of those who work through their breaks do so because they have too much work to do, while almost a third say it is because there are too few staff to cover the workload.
The CSP urged employers to adopt healthier working practices, claiming claimed that UK workers are increasing their risk of chronic musculoskeletal disorders (eg. on-going back pain), obesity, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes type 2 and strokes through poor working practices.
Sickness absence and sickness presence, when members of staff come to work feeling unwell, is already costing employers and society over £35 billion in reduced performance, productivity, sickpay and benefits, according to the report.
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy chief executive Phil Gray said: "Employees pay the price with their health and there is a cost to employers in reduced productivity and performance. Work is good for us and can contribute to physical and mental well-being – but not when overworking means people don’t have the time or energy to look after their own health or when staff are at work, but are not fit for work.
"With advice and support from physiotherapists and other occupational health experts, employers can create healthier work environments and benefit not only society but also their profit margin."
Statistics revealed by the CSP:
• 54 per cent of workers said they ‘always or usually’ go to work when they feel stressed or physically unwell , with 31 percent experiencing physical pain and 42 percent feeling stressed at least once a week.
• 46 percent of workers say their physical pains are due to working in the same position for a long time.
• 46 percent of workers say their stress is caused because there are not enough members of staff to do the work expected.
• 41 percent of employees say they are too busy with work to exercise regularly (up from 33 percent in CSP’s 2009 survey).
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) senior public policy advisor Ben Willmott added: "These findings should ring alarm bells for employers. A certain level of pressure at work is of course desirable. However, when the pressure people face regularly exceeds their ability to cope, in other words stress, it is likely to lead to time off work and is linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety and heart disease.
"Employers should ensure their line managers have the people management skills to prevent pressure becoming stress and to identify the early warning signs if people are struggling to cope at work. Organisations that support employee wellbeing through providing flexible working and encouraging and supporting staff to make healthier choices over diet and exercise will also benefit from a more resilient and productive workforce."