Are you sitting comfortably? How often do we really think about how we sit at work? In our hectic daily schedule, it’s often just a case of get to the office, sit down, head down, get on with it! But everyone who habitually uses a computer at work, even if they work from home should have Display Screen Equipment Training – it’s the law and it really makes sense.
Each year the statistics from the Health and Safety Executive bear out the concerns, with the most commonly reported illnesses – the sorts of problems exacerbated by poor posture and typing position, such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) - accounting for more than half of all absences from work. Last year that was about 9 million days lost. That’s a LOT of time off!
Bradley Worsfold, director of The Interactive Health and Safety Company warns that: “The majority of people don’t realise the long-term damage their sitting position could be doing to their backs. It’s because the discs that make up your back have very little nerve supply, so any pressure or stress from poor posture aren’t felt straightaway - in fact you may not feel anything for a long time, the problem simply builds and builds over time and then all of a sudden an awkward movement can result in agony. A simple adjustment to your workstation layout may be all that’s needed to help you sit with a better posture and that’s one of the areas highlighted in our DSE training programme”.
The exponential rise in the use of computers, and the very static nature of this sort of work means that a large proportion of people are sitting in relatively stationary positions for much of the day. This is often without taking the time to correctly adjust chair and screen height or distance, or getting the keyboard and mouse in the right position – it’s just storing up problems for the future. If the screen is badly set up, with characters which are difficult to see – too small, not sharply formed or with poor contrast or if your workstation is in such a position that the screen or even the desk surface is subject to glare eye-strain and headaches can start to become a problem too.
It’s the same with laptops, in fact posture can be even more of a challenge when using a laptop! How often do we put a laptop on the seat beside us and then turn sideways to use it? How often do we use a laptop in poor lighting, in cramped positions?
Display Screen Equipment training should also include looking at noise, lighting, temperature and humidity – the environment should be comfortable to work in. Trying to concentrate with incessant, regular or even irregular loud noise going on is very distracting and can be extremely stressful.
Everyone who works at a desk for a good part of their working day simply needs to spend a few moments at the start of the day ensuring their own comfort. And why not set May as the month to complete the training, and then remember each May to repeat a full self-assessment of the work area? Our Display Screen Equipment Training programme is available on free trial. It includes, not only the training required, but also a full personal workstation assessment, the results of which are stored and concerns flagged up in any easy-to-read downloadable format, so a manager can deal with them promptly. It is available both ONLINE and on CD-ROM. With prices starting at £50+vat per year for 25 users ONLINE or £165+vat one-off cost for the CD-ROM, it’s a cost-effective and efficient way of preventing long-term health problems and a valuable resource wherever there’s a large amount of desk-bound work. Why not try it this May?