So many employers and employees are completely unaware of the impact on health a badly arranged work station can have.
A poorly arranged work station is a major contributing factor in the development of many work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs). Conditions can be both short and long term but in most cases cause a lot of avoidable pain, discomfort and stress. Other associated symptoms include temporary eyestrain and headaches, and fatigue/stress.
The hazards associated with DSE work stations must therefore be properly assessed so that they are adequately equipped and adjustable to suit the user’s needs.
Risks from DSE use:
Upper Limb Disorders – aches and pains in the hands, wrists, arms, neck, shoulders, back etc.
Visual Difficulties – eyes can become tired and existing conditions can become more noticeable.
It should be noted, however, that only a small percentage of Users will experience problems as a result of DSE. Those problems that do occur are generally not due to the equipment itself but the way it is used. The majority of concerns can be prevented by effective workplace and job design.
You can minimize risk by:
- Training the user to use the mouse with a relaxed arm and a straight wrist
- Informing the user that their fingers should rest lightly on the buttons and not press too hard
- Limiting the length of intensive sessions using pointing devices
- Ensuring users take frequent short breaks
- Ensuring the device is suitable for the task
- Training the user in keyboard shortcuts
- Training the user to adjust the software settings – these control the reaction time between the mouse and the cursor on the screen
Employers must perform a “suitable and sufficient analysis” of Users’ workstations “for the purpose of assessing the health and safety risks to which those persons are exposed in consequence of that use”.
RGU have developed a risk assessment proforma for this purpose. It should be completed for the workstation of each DSE-User and will highlight any items that require improvement. The assessment should be undertaken together by the Safety Co-ordinator and the User. Any actions should be implemented by the School / Department / Unit as soon as possible.
The risk assessment should be reviewed if any new equipment is purchased, if the workstation is altered or relocated; if someone new takes on the role or if there is any other reason to suspect that the assessment is no longer valid. It should also be reviewed if the User experiences any health issues which could be attributed to DSE-Use.
Risk Assessment Software:
AssessNET – web-based health and safety management software featuring powerful management tools, such as integrated task management, statistical analysis, and contract reporting. AssessNETdrives the Safety culture within your organisation, improves performance and ensures you meet your legal obligations. www.assessnet.co.uk
AssessNET’s comprehensive Risk Assessment Module that can be used to assess a wide range of work activities. The Risk Assessment Module uses a step by step method developed by our vastly experienced consultants to guide you through the risk assessment process in 3 easy stages. AssessNET automatically saves your progress at the end of each stage so if you ever have to leave your desk after completing half the assessment you can rest assured that you won’t have to start from scratch.
The Risk Assessment Module features a fantastic time saving tool known as “Controls Assistant” which recognizes the type of hazard that you are assessing and suggests control measures that are commonly used for that hazard. This is a great way of checking against potential control measures that you may have missed and also features the ability to add these control measures directly to the assessment at the click of a button.