Industry News

Back-breaking work: UK businesses face £3.7bn injury bill

posted on 23/08/2023
Back-breaking work: UK businesses face £3.7bn injury bill

A third of UK van drivers have injured themselves at least once while loading their van in the past year, costing businesses up to £3.7 billion annually, according to research commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles*.

48 per cent of those who reported an injury had to take more than one day off at a time, with an average downtime cost of £500 per person per day.

On top of this, 34 per cent of drivers reported taking more than a week off due to an injury caused specifically by loading or unloading their van, with an average absence of five working days in a single period. This comes despite 83 per cent of drivers stating they knew how to safely load their vehicles. 

A registered van parc of 4.6 million** vehicles means loading-related injuries are currently costing UK businesses as much as £3.7 billion per year.

To help businesses and drivers alike, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Catherine Quinn, President of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), have published a list of top tips to help operators safely load and unload a vehicle:

Before going to lift anything, think about how you have prepared your most important tool for the day, your body. Take five minutes to warm up your body using simple stretches and full body movements like floor-to-ceiling touches.

When assessing the object you’re about to lift, make sure that you are splitting the load up into manageable chunks, rather than trying to do it all at once. If an object is an awkward shape or size, consider asking a colleague to help you.

Much like we advise people in the gym, ensure that you are engaging your legs when lifting anything. You have a great deal of strength in your legs and buttocks, so use them to drive up from a squat or lunge position to best protect your body.

If you are someone who suffers with back pain, try to avoid lifting and twisting with a heavy item. Instead aim to lift the item, and then use your legs to turn rather than twisting through your spine.

The new all-electric ID. Buzz Cargo was ergonomically designed to help drivers load and unload their vehicles as safely as possible. Thanks to the MEB platform, the ID. Buzz Cargo features a completely flat load area floor that is 100mm lower than most competitors, making it easier for operators to use. A wide, sliding side door with integrated step comes as standard for easy entry, and customers can also configure the van to incorporate a second sliding door on the driver’s side, as part of a bespoke offering. 

Once behind the wheel, it’s just as important to ensure good posture to avoid back pain – one of the leading reasons for workplace absence in the UK***. All Volkswagen vans feature ergoComfort seats that offer up to 20-way adjustment for correct lumbar support, while the in-built suspension softens bumpy country roads, potholes and speed bumps alike.

Rob Holdcroft, Head of Network Sales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is on the side of businesses and customers alike and the ability to operate in a safe environment is of the upmost importance to us. This is why we work alongside our customers to design vehicles that are effective and supportive as doing so benefits both parties – businesses don’t have big injury bills to pay and operators don’t lose any days on the job.”

For more information regarding Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ award-winning range of products and services, please visit:

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