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Workstation Assessments-Do I have to buy an expensive chair?

Published on 28 Dec, 2012
Jean Fisher
Content Manager

Here at The Occupational Health Business Ltd we provide occupational health services in Wales and the UK and we understand how difficult it can be to ensure musculoskeletal risks are managed in the workplace.  When do ‘aches and pains’ turn into something more serious and what are your responsibilities as an employer and have you got to buy an expensive chair?

A high proportion of DSE workers report eye discomfort, ‘aches and pains’ also known as upper limb disorders (ULD) or Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). These conditions can develop into real health problems making the employee less productive and increasing the risk of sick leave and reduced capability on return to work.

 Having a plan in place to manage these risks will ensure you are compliant with Health & Safety legislation and will reduce liability in this area and avoid the risk of absence due to musculoskeletal conditions.  There are 2 main areas of assessment to consider:-

1. DSE Assessments

DSE assessments are conducted with the employee at their workstation using a DSE risk assessment approach. The assessments are conducted by a qualified Occupational Health Adviser who will also provide training in workstation set up and posture to each user. This ensures compliance with the DSE regulations and ensures that users can assess their own workstations in the future. Any recommendations that need to be implemented will be outlined in a short summary per user including any equipment that may be required. Up to 8 DSE assessments can be conducted in one day per site. It is likely that for the majority of assessments simple chair adjustments and workstation advice will be sufficient.

2. Ergonomic Assessments

This more specialist assessment is recommended for more complex cases (e.g. return to work, serious illness or injury). An Occupational Health Adviser will undertake a confidential consultation with the employee on-site prior to the DSE 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 suitable equipment where required. Up to 4 ergonomic DSE assessments can be conducted per day. A specialist chair may be indicated, but there are plenty on the market which don’t cost a fortune.



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