Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

July 4, 2019

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musculoskeletal disorders

Home workers in risk of musculoskeletal disorders

In a seminar held by global law firm, Clyde & Co, titled Effective Safety Leadership in the Workplace, it suggested that employers must provide extra care for employees that work from home, or there will be an increase number of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Clyde & Co Partner and expert on occupational diseases, David Tait

Clyde & Co Partner and expert on occupational diseases, David Tait, emphasised that “the modern workplace includes working from home. Indeed, it’s a practice that’s encouraged by many employers. Employees have to work in an agile manner, which includes using laptops in locations like train stations and coffee shops”.

It is predicted that by 2020, half of UK’s workforce will work from home, according to the Office for National Statistics. David Tait emphasised that he is anticipating an increase of claims for MSDs, due to poor working conditions in employees’ homes.

In the UK today, 1.4 million workers are suffering from work-related ill health. MSDs represent 41% of all employment ill health cases with 156,000 new cases reported last year.

Tait said “organisations will need to take greater care that their workers are not harming themselves, using laptops and viewing display screens in sub-optimal conditions. Unless they do this, we will see more and more cases of muscular-skeletal disorders caused by home-based working.”

Looking at broader trends for MSDs, Tait said he expected to see an increase in repetitive back injury claims. He also noted that, in his work in Scotland, he had seen an increase in claims from employments not typically seen before. For example, helicopter pilots making claims for back and neck problems due to new-style lifejackets following changes to government safety legislation.

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

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Neil Budworth
Neil Budworth
1 year ago

The IOSH guidance Out of Site Out of Mind is a good starting point on this issue.

Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
1 year ago

Mmmm, and what about the top occupational health RSI, “induced vision loss” still affecting 58% of DSE operators in the chain of causation of 47% of WRULD’S in the 21st Century regardless, of whether one of the 10% compliant or not with the 1993 UK DSE Regulations now post it’s Silver Jubilee and dismissed anyway in the meantime by the medical review commissioned by, none other than, the HSE published in 2007 concluding neither use nor ornament as had proven to be “ineffective” and failed to ergonomically risk assess what it said “on the tin” the DSE itself ???

Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
1 year ago

Not to mention “accessibility” Interesting as, for DSE operators, visual repetitive stress injuries or induced binocular vision loss equates to a 20% deficit in performance or 30 days presenteeism due to eye-strain, CVS or Screen Fatigue and, that is solely due to expediently avoiding mitigating the 4 to 7 fold increased risk of myopic / asthenopic disease due to over-exposure to the standard ‘black text on a white background’ settings the majority of users have to adapt to, cope with & tolerate. But, hey no secret “accessibility” issues have been known to affect operators since before the EU issued it’s… Read more »