The more companies that we work with around the UK, the more apparent it becomes that businesses fail to manage the health risks of working with DSE properly.
We see many that undertake DSE assessments and provide a wide selection of workstation equipment for staff to use but without tackling the key risk area – operator awareness. The first thing that often strikes us is how badly the workstations are set up or how poorly the persons sit at their workstations. So why is this?
The DSE regulations have been around for a long time as has the knowledge that repetitive working at computers can lead to long term health problems; but the risks are clearly not really understood. The regulations do call for DSE workstation risk assessments to be undertaken but also require businesses to train staff to understand what the health risks are. The problem is that businesses often overlook the critical training step and just go for the risk assessment, which just leads to a short term approach and fails to manage the longer term risks.
So why does this happen? We think it comes down to seeing DSE risk management as a low priority because the health risks are not readily apparent; so therefore don`t really exist in many businesses mindset. However, in the long term, if awareness is not raised then problems will more likely occur. Only recently we spoke to a young lady at a client’s London premises who sat hunched forwards and was unable to reach the floor with her feet; at the moment she had no discomfort so failed to appreciate the risks. But we bet in a few years’ time if she carried on working like this then the answer would be very different.
We know that surveys have found that a high proportion of DSE workers report aches, pains or eye discomfort. The surveys have also shown that health risks can be avoided if users follow effective practice, set up their workstations properly and take breaks during prolonged use. By just taking a few simple precautions, work with DSE can be more comfortable and productive.
So when you stop and think about it, how much of a burden is it to provide some training that could most likely prevent long term suffering in the future? Training does not need to be complex and as we suggested to this London- based business, could easily be addressed through maybe an online training option or through the use of a well delivered DVD package.