If your employees use PC’s, laptops and other similar devices throughout their working day, these employees are classed as DSE Users under the Display Screen Equipment Regulations. Businesses must ensure, as part of these regulations, that their workstations are assessed in order to reduce the risk of possible health problems. Risk factors associated with DSE use include awkward and static posture, repetitive tasks, poor working technique, all of which can result in conditions such as RSI, neck and back pain, headaches and stress.
If you have an employee who is experiencing any related health problems the following tips can help.
Back and Neck Pain
Often caused by bad posture. It is essential employees know how to adjust their workstation chair. A chair with a five star base is a legal requirement. It gives stability and prevents the chair from tipping up when leaning forward.
Forearms and hands needs to be horizontal with the elbows vertically under the shoulders to ensure good posture.
Feet should be placed flat on the floor. The pelvis should be slightly higher than the knees. If feet dangle a footrest should be used. Those that are taller may require the desk height to be raised.
The back should be supported by the chair’s backrest encouraging the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine.
If armrests are fitted to the chair and prevent complete access to the workstation either lower them if adjustable or arrange to have them removed. Don’t lower the seat to move armrests under the desk.
If employees regularly use phones or make long phone calls ensure the phone is not cradled between the neck and shoulder. If necessary use a headset.
Breaks and changes of activity should be introduced throughout the working day.
The screen should be set with the top level with the eyes and the screen face vertical. If the screen is too low (which can also cause neck pain) use screen risers to increase the height.
The screen should be positioned one arms length away so that the eye muscles don’t have to work too hard. It should be placed in a straight line directly in front of the user. Placed at an angle can cause back and neck pain due to twisting.
Concentrated use of PCs and laptops can cause temporary visual fatigue. DSE users are legally entitled to eyesight testing paid for by the employer.
The mouse needs to be positioned so its close to the body. The elbow should be vertically under the shoulder without stretching. It’s also worth trying to alternate the mouse with the other hand (if possible) to prevent muscle fatigue.
Keyboards should be used with the slightest of pressure. Using a keyboard with one or two fingers can result in striking the key with some force, the effect will be similar to hitting the top of the desk with a finger. The shockwave will pass across the hand and through the wrist. Over time repeated shocks could impact the limb leading to the onset of pain.
Be proactive and share these tips with your employees as part of your workstation assessment arrangements before the problems arise.
If you would like assistance assessing your employees' workstations contact CG Safety.