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Repetitive Strain Injury - Guidance for Small Firms

Results from a recent survey in the UK indicate that each year an estimated 400,000 people suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in the upper limb or neck area – caused or made worse by their work. This results in around 4 million lost working days a year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance for employers on reducing musculoskeletal disorders. These are:

  • The Law on VDUs: an Easy Guide, which offers step by step guidance on how to comply with the Display Screen Equipment guidance;
  • Work with Display Screen Equipment: Guidance on Regulations, which covers the technical and legal detail of the regulations;
  • Aching Arms, designed to help employers and managers in small businesses to understand and tackle RSI.

The HSE published guidance in 2003 on avoiding RSI in the workplace.

The HSE has included information on the latest equipment and modern ways of working, such as using lap tops, using a mouse, trackball or other pointing device, homeworking and teleworking as well as choosing appropriate software, such as programs that monitor rest pauses.

The HSE recognises that not all cases of RSI are preventable, so preventative measures need to be backed up with:

  • systems for early reporting of symptoms;
  • the treatment and rehabilitation of the person with the condition before it becomes chronic.
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In most workplaces, preventative action is simple and need not be costly, whereas ignoring the problem could turn out to be very costly indeed. Contact me if you would like further information on making sure your health and safety procedures are adequate.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.