Efforts to tackle the fact that the North-East endures the highest rates of incapacity benefit are welcome, enabling people to access work as a positive initiative for all concerned.
We must also consider preventing the flow of people from employment to economic inactivity.
One of the Government's primary concerns is the number of people on incapacity benefit and one of the key routes to incapacity benefit is back injuries - one in eight people cite back pain as the reason for not working.
So the current Health and Safety Executive campaign - Better Backs - should be welcomed by all. Around 60%-80% of all workers, at some point, experience back pain, caused by repetitive lifting, twisting or exerting too much force, often in poorly- organised work conditions without proper consideration being given to the impact of manual handling activities.
And this has major consequences for individuals and for businesses. Around one in five of the 2.2 million workers who suffer ill-health have back injuries - costing around five million working days (average absence rates for this type of injury is 19 days) and £150m in NHS physiotherapy costs.
And most back injuries can be prevented. Early action to avoid injury or to deal quickly with symptoms is not only crucial to bringing these figures down but also cost-effective.
There is excellent free guidance on manual handling from the HSE. See hse.gov.uk. The main message is to avoid manual handling and to, where possible, use manual aids. Where that isn't possible, use good handling techniques - it's not rocket science.
There are simple steps that employers can take that would have a dramatic impact on the number of back injuries at work.
The first is for employers to work with staff: they are the ones that do the job and know what can be done to improve tasks.
Together, they then need to ask some pretty simple questions, such as: can the manual handling activity be avoided? In many cases, a reorganisation of the workplace so that staff move, rather than goods they work on, will avoid manual handling. But if the answer to the question is `no', then ask: can the handling task be mechanised?
Even simple aids like trolleys can significantly reduce the instances of manual handling in the workplace.
Many workplaces will require some unavoidable manual handling. In these cases it is necessary to consider the scale and frequency of the handling and whether workers are bending, twisting and stretching more than they need to.
And there is also a need to train staff. It is human nature to take the easy option but this is not always best for the individual or the business.
Good quality engagement and education with workers to explain not only the dangers of but also the techniques to avoid back injury, and involving workers in the solutions, is also crucial.
Workplace solutions must be jointly agreed - and not imposed - if they are to be effective.