Ergonomics and Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments

When we think of injury at work we rarely think of the fact that serious injury can occur whilst sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen but the facts show injuries due to stress and RSI are costing UK industry up to £20 Billion per year. (Buckle and Devereux)

European law and the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 1992 requires all employers to analyse workstations and to assess and reduce risks to employee stress and injury. An employer is liable for the wellbeing and safety of all its employees.

Ergonomics can best be considered as the links between an employee/user and the equipment he/she uses and the environment in which he/she works in. Each time a job or equipment change occurs or an employee change occurs (i.e. pregnancy) a DSE/ergonomic reassessment must take place.

Taking into account the following statistics from the UK HSE, TUC and other European surveys:

  • 30% of European workers suffer from backache with 17%, 25 Million workers, suffering from pain in their arms and legs.
  • The UK HSE finds that 0.5 million UK workers suffer with neck and upper limb disorders with many more workers failing to report these issues to their employers due to fear of affecting their employment prospects.
  • 5.4 Million UK working days were lost in 2003 due to RSI injuries.
  • 6 people in the UK leave their job every day due to an RSI condition.
  • RSI injuries are costing UK employers and industry up to £20 Billion pa.
  • One major employer found that the average cost of retiring an employee on medical grounds was £40,000.
  • Stress related illness is costing UK up to £3.75 Billion per year and an annual loss of 6.5 million working days per year.
  • 75% of executives claimed that work place stress is damaging their health happiness and home life not to mention their performance at work. (CMI, PPP)

Organisations that have strategies to improve workplace ergonomics reduce lost sick days due to RSI by 66% (RSI Association)

At the Total Health Practice we advise on improvements to the working environment and educating your employees on correct working practices with the aims of reducing the risks of stress and repetitive strain injuries. Furthermore for those employees with existing stress and injuries we provide coaching, treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Typically the changes that are recommended in a DSE assessment are minor and of low cost to the employer compared to the returns in terms of productivity and workforce availability and motivation. Statistics in the US show that for every $1 invested in ergonomic intervention the return is $17.80. The overall benefits to the employer are a happier, more engaged, and productive workforce that takes less time off sick.

If you would like our qualified assessors to assess your employees or indeed if you are an employee that feels that your employer could benefit from ergonomic assessments then please call the Total Health Practice and speak to one of our qualified assessors in confidence on 0207 498 8171 for free advice.