Survey shows most discourage back belts

The results of the 1998 Occupational Health Management Reader Survey show that back support belts are falling out of favor rapidly, and Internet use is now a standard part of most practices.

OHM surveyed approximately 800 readers in April 1998. The results give a glimpse into the changing face of occupational medicine. Here are a few highlights:

o Sixty percent of the respondents "discourage" the use of back support belts for the prevention of back injuries. Another 24% said they were undecided about whether to recommend the belts. None said they "recommend" the belts, but 2.7% "strongly recommend" them.

o Ergonomics consulting is a "small part" of your program for 63% and a "major part" for 34%.

o For 55% of the respondents, small companies make up most of their clients. For 22%, large companies make up most of their clients, and 19% say their clients are equally divided.

o Most of the respondents (55%) have more than 300 clients, 18% have 151 to 300 clients, and 21% have 51 to 150.

o The great majority of respondents have access to the Internet. Thirty-two percent say they have Internet access both at home and at work, 27% have access at home, and 27% have access at work. Only 13% say they have no Internet access.

o Massage therapy is popular among occupational health programs, with 40% saying they offer it or plan to within the next year. Twenty percent offer or plan to offer chiropractic care, and 10% say the same about acupuncture. No one reports offering or planning to offer herbal medicine.