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January 7, 2013

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Celebrating 20 years of the Six Pack

The start of 2013 marks the 20th anniversary since the implementation of the Six Pack – the wide-reaching legislative package, which comprised, as one of its elements, the Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations.

Ergonomists and human-factors professionals use their expertise to help plan and design safer working environments, equipment and systems, so that they are easy to use and meet users’ needs. The Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (IEHF) believes the introduction of the Six Pack – and the DSE Regulations, in particular – supported the application and value of ergonomics in the workplace.

For office staff, the DSE Regulations highlighted the need for DSE-related training, assessments and improved workstation design and set-up, the IEHF explains. Non office-based workers also benefited from a reduction of the risks associated with manual handling and the improved provision of better personal protective equipment and clothing.

Explained IEHF chief executive Dave O’Neill: “As a result [of the Six Pack], both employers and employees know much more about safer working practices and what has to be done in the workplace by both parties to achieve this. More could still be done to combat stress and improve overall employee well-being. And there will always be some difficult situations that will require compromise solutions.”

O’Neill continued: “An ergonomics approach is holistic and will address cognitive and organisational factors, as well as the physical aspects of the workplace. As well as having potential health benefits, the application of ergonomics to the workplace can also help ensure that workers are able to work more easily, perform better and be more productive.”

For more personal accounts from practitioners of the past 20 years in ergonomics, see the IEHF website,

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