There is increasing demand for evidence‐based health care. Back pain is one of the most common and difficult occupational health problems, but there has been no readily available evidence base or guidance on management. There are well‐established clinical guidelines for the management of low back pain, but these provide limited guidance on the occupational aspects. Occupational Health Guidelines for the Management of Low Back Pain at Work were launched by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine in March 2000. These are the first national occupational health guidelines in the UK and, as far as we are aware, the first truly evidence‐linked occupational health guidelines for back pain in the world. They were based on an extensive, systematic review of the scientific literature predominantly from occupational settings or concerning occupational outcomes. The full evidence review is on the Faculty web site (www.facoccmed.ac.uk), but an abridged version is presented here to aid its dissemination.