Many working environments are taxing on the human body. Dull aches at the base of your neck, and stabbing pains after an awkward night’s sleep may seem like a fact of life, but realistically there are many things you can do as an employer to help prevent these.
In 2020/2021 over 470,000 were struggling with musculoskeletal disorders directly caused by their work or workplace. Over 45% of those affected were suffering from neck, shoulder and upper limb disorders while another 39% were suffering from back pain.
These may be surprising statistics, but what is shocking is how many of these cases were due to employees working in tiring, awkward positions or carrying out repetitive tasks like keyboard work.
Office working might not appear fraught with danger, but the use of Display Screen Equipment, long periods spent sitting, and repetitive motions like typing can cause serious long term problems for yourself and your employees.
Luckily, there is a lot that employers can do to help lower the risks facing office and home workers. The only way to identify these is through risk assessment, in particular, an ergonomic and DSE risk assessment.
Ergonomics revolves around how people use and function in their working environment. Its aim is to lessen the risk of pain, strain or injury that workers feel while doing their job.
It focuses on protecting people but is usually approached from a design perspective.
Ergonomics is the practice of designing and arranging workplaces, furniture, equipment and systems so that they fit the people who are using them. It has less emphasis on changing the human factors such as how they move, and more emphasis on supporting them.
There should be no one-size-fits-all approach to ergonomics in the workplace. Every individual needs their own ergonomic support otherwise they could suffer musculoskeletal issues or upper limb disorders such as pain in the back, neck, shoulders and even wrists.
Ergonomic assessments are a type of risk assessment made about the way your employees work. Usually, they focus on roles that involve being seated for long periods or carrying out repetitive movements.
The assessment is carried out through visual observation of an employee working. It aims to identify any issues in workstation set-up or repetitive tasks that could pose an ergonomic risk and lead to arm pain, strains or musculoskeletal disorders.
These workstation assessments will address some of the health risks faced by employees who work while seated for prolonged periods. They can help make sure workers have good posture support as well as minimise the risk caused by repetitive motions while working.
DSE workstation assessments are carried out to minimise the risk factors that come with using Display Screen Equipment (DSE). DSE risk assessments usually apply to computer screens but can apply to tablets, TVs or other any other screen if it is used for work purposes for an extended length of time.
A DSE assessment is an evaluation of the way that this technology is used. It will ensure that the equipment is set up correctly and good practice is applied while working with it.
Display screen equipment (DSE) that is commonly assessed includes:
At David Barber Occupational Health, we can carry out professional DSE assessments to make sure that your employee’s workstations meet DSE regulations.
If our DSE assessor highlights any potential issues, we can suggest reasonable adjustments to resolve them or offer specialist advice to keep you, your business and your employees in line with legal requirements.
Any workers who regularly use DSE for an hour or more a day must have a workstation assessment. This is outlined in Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations that all employers are legally obliged to obey).
Any and all DSE users are covered by these safety regulations to protect them from long-term ill health caused by incorrect use.
Similarly, if you use DSE equipment as part of your day-to-day role for more than an hour, you need a DSE assessment.
This includes home workers who may need to conduct a self-assessment.
Carrying our ergonomic and DSE workstation assessments for relevant workers is a legal requirement. However, meeting HSE regulations is just one benefit your business will see from these risk assessments.
Other benefits for your company (and your employees) include:
Don’t assume that running a passive work environment such as an office means that the workplace poses no health and safety risk, or has no need for risk assessments. The HSE states it is always an employer’s job to protect their employees from ill-health.
If your company is based in the Midlands and your employee workstations are set up for regular seated and/or DSE work, it is your obligation to provide DSE and ergonomic assessments. We’re experienced at offering ergonomic and DSE risk assessments in Derby so we can support you with the entire process. From carrying out the risk assessment to offering advice on solutions for any risks that arise, we at David Barber Occupational Health are here to help.
If you would like to find out more about ergonomics assessments in Derby or local DSE assessments, get in touch with our team. We’re here to answer any questions that you may have, find out costs and book you in at a time that suits you best.
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