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Position Your Posture To Prevent Pain

Jan 12, 2008
DSE risk assessment is an aspect of office life to be overlooked at great expense.

Health and safety is always in the press these days with reports of the physical ailments caused by non-observance. Display Screen Equipment is one of the things that should be at the top of the list for office workers to avoid complaints such as repetitive strain injury, back strains and stress.

DSE risk assessment suggests that a computer screen should be positioned with the top of the screen at eye level to keep the user's neck at the correct angle.

Keeping the feet flat on the floor or on a footrest will prevent strain on the back and a chair with a lower back support to keep the spine its natural curve shape is essential to prevent posture related problems.

The findings of DSE studies show that when typing, wrists should be straight and horizontal to the work surface. This is because repeatedly typing with bent wrists will cause carpal tunnel syndrome, an extremely painful repetitive strain injury.

Compensation boards in cook county, Illinois have found that compensation claims for office related incidents have gone through the roof lately. They have shelled out a total of $1.3 million for injuries to employees when their chairs broke or they were using their chairs as ladders.

Had these offices implemented the health and safety requirements as set out by DSE risk assessment then these injuries could have been avoided. It just goes to prove that people really can behave a little stupidly when specifically told not to.

A further $569,000 was blown on compensation for people tripping on rugs and cords trailing across offices and, believe it or not, a total of $403,000 was claimed for injuries resulting from fights that had broken out amongst staff! Maybe the stress became too much and anger management would be an alternative lunchtime therapy?

Extreme office compensation claims are $3,088 paid out for a finger cut on a staple and a woman that tried to sue her employers because she was bitten by a bug while at work which she claims resulted in a development of eczema.

What will it be next? Compensation claims for whiplash injuries after speeding your chair between desks too fast? Repetitive strain injury claims for overworking the computer mouse button? Or maybe ridiculous money for lifting up a ream of paper without bending at the knees first?

And don't think it's just the crazy US that are cooking up a storm in compensation claims. After so many Britons have jumped on the bandwagon of this compensation culture, business's are terrified of being sued for people's stupidity. Unfortunately, it is not against the law to be stupid.

To ensure no law suits are brought, there has been a wide range of notices placed in public places to warn people of the blindingly obvious. This, at least, means they can prove they tried and then it is down to the individual to take note or ignore the warning - all at their own risk.

Such signs noted are one that says 'Caution - this sign has sharp edges' or 'Caution - Vehicles In Road', where else would they be? 'Caution - Trip Hazard' was seen on a loose rug in a stately building. As ridiculous as they seem, these signs are enough to prevent a law suit being levelled at company accounts.

When will people begin to take responsibility for themselves? That is a very open ended question and until then it is essential to cover all aspects of health and safety - particularly within the office environment - and DSE risk assessment is a good place to start.
About the Author
Health expert Catherine Harvey looks at the implementation of DSE risk assessment within the office. To find out more please visit http://www.complywise.co.uk/
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