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Will Spending Money on Workstation Equipment Cure Hand Pain?

Published on 14 Apr, 2016
Jean Fisher
Content Manager

How much is your annual spend on special computer equipment and chairs? Would you like to reduce this spend? Then read on.

Here at The Occupational Health Business Ltd we provide occupational health assessments in Wales and the UK and we understand how difficult it can be to ensure musculoskeletal risks are managed well in the workplace.  When do ‘aches and pains’ turn into something more serious and what are your responsibilities as an employer? Have you got to buy that expensive chair? There are two main types of employee workstation assessments. These are completely different, but often confused and special equipment can be purchased where no real evidence exists that it is needed. Store rooms all over the land are full of equipment which was wrongly purchased.

  1. Workstation Assessments.

The first assessment is the routine workstation Display Screen Assessment (DSE). This is where the employee’s workstation position is checked to ensure that poor working positions or bad habits, are not going to trigger musculoskeletal health conditions. Ideally all employees should be taught to undertake their own assessment. It’s easy to teach employees how to do this and there are numerous posture poster type pictures which can be used as screen savers, reminding employees about good posture and when to notify musculoskeletal symptoms. It’s bonkers to pay for someone to go round checking people are sitting correctly.  We are all adults…aren’t we? For these kind of routine workstation assessments, it’s likely that for the majority of  employees, simple chair adjustments and minor workstation changes, such as ensuring the screen is in front of the user, will be sufficient. Don’t buy anything else!

  1. Ergonomic Assessments.

This more specialist assessment is recommended for more complex cases (e.g. on return to work following serious illness or injury). An Occupational Health Adviser’s (OHA) advice is valuable in this instance.  Overall, as well as conducting an assessment of the workstation, the OHA will be able to advise on reasonable adjustments. In this instance, using a clinician is valuable as knowledge of the medical condition and it’s impact on employee capability is needed. Usually there is also no tie in with equipment suppliers as we don’t work this way. The OHA will undertake a confidential consultation with the employee on-site prior to the workstation assessment taking place. This will provide a clinical picture of any medical conditions, whether the Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply and what if any reasonable adjustments are recommended. The DSE assessment will then be conducted with the user at their workstation. Photographs and measurements of the workstation will be taken where necessary. A report with detailed recommendations will be provided to the employer.  This will include information about any equipment which is required. A specialist chair may be indicated in these cases, but there are plenty on the market which don’t cost a fortune and we will advise which are suitable. For employees notifying pain in hands and wrist, it is the action of using the hands which is usually the problem. No amount of special mouse equipment or wrist rests will solve this and is likely to make the problem worse. Rest and a change in how the hands are used is the only way to see if recovery can be achieved. Wrist rests, used wrongly can compress nerves in the wrist causing further pain and reduced functionality. How many of your employees are using them? We will demonstrate correct use of keyboard and mouse and advise on keyboard shortcuts etc to reduce mouse and keyboard usage.  Ultimately, Access to Work may become involved if for example, voice recognition software is needed. Using an OHA to undertake this type of assessment will give you a medical opinion on the employee’s condition, whether the Equality Act may be likely to apply and advice on reasonable adjustments. You can be confident then that you are complying with relevant legislation and not wasting money on unnecessary equipment when the real issues are at risk of escalating.. CONTACT US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR NEEDS OR COMPLETE OUR WEBSITE ENQUIRY FORM TO JOIN OUR LIST. Email: Web: Mobile: 07864 006850 Office:   01443 262219


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