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A pain in the neck (arm or shoulder) - Advice for businesses

If a member of your team complains of neck, arm or shoulder pain - what do you do?

For those employees who spend the majority of their time in front of a screen, whether it’s a PC, laptop, tablet or phone, they put themselves at risk of developing RSI (or upper limb disorders) and other musculoskeletal problems. This risk is increased further when these type of devices are used outside of work and during leisure time.

If one of your employees notifies you that they are experiencing arm, hand or neck pain, take action - in order to minimise the risk as soon as possible, demonstrate your duty of care and to avoid the risk of negligence.

RSI and upper limb problems are among the most commonly reported work-related conditions in Britain, and as well as some cases that result in a potentially disabling illness, the effects to business owners can also be significant in terms of absenteeism, loss productivity and other unpredicted costs (one case details damages of £30,000 awarded to an employee after developing RSI from excessive use of a computer keyboard).

As a business owner you have a legal responsibility to manage the health, safety and welfare of your employees - and it also makes business sense to do so.

What should you be doing?

As part of your health and safety duties you must provide display screen equipment (DSE) assessments for each employee and take any necessary action to prevent risks to ill health.

Prevention is better than cure. Providing the necessary tools for employees to work comfortably can help prevent cases of RSI and can in the long term minimise your costs in terms of absenteeism and personal injury claims.

As well as completing DSE assessments, you are also required to provide information and training which gives advice to employees on adopting the correct working posture whilst using DSE, and guidance explaining how to manage work routines effectively by incorporating breaks/changes of activity in order to avoid static posture.

Be aware…

RSI can also be caused by other work activities which involve the employee using their arms/adopting poor posture to carry out repetitive tasks. Take into account all types of work activities performed which can present this risk and look at methods of eliminating or reducing the likelihood of problems occurring.

Further advice can be found here.

Contact CG Safety for a free 20 minute consultation if you require further support.

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