Over five million people in Britain use VDUs and computers, but if good working practices aren't followed they could end up with health problems such as stress, visual discomfort and aches and pains in their hands. In an effort to prevent such injuries the Health & Safety Executive has published a new version of its guidance book, Working with VDUs.
The latest edition takes into account some minor changes in the law that came into force last September and draws attention to the importance of carrying out risk assessments and reporting health problems to employers.
The guide provides practical advice on how to prevent workplace injuries by, for example, adopting good posture, placing your mouse close to you so it can be used with a relaxed arm and straight wrist, supporting your arms, taking frequent breaks and limiting the time spent using a mouse.
The aim of the guide is to help employers and staff tackle problems before they become a serious threat to fitness. It is hoped this approach can cut down on individual's discomfort as well as slashing the amount of working days lost to job-related injuries.
In 2001 and 2002 around 1.1 million people suffered from musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) either caused or worsened by their occupation, while 12.3 million working days were lost due to job-related MSDs according to the government's figures.
Single copies of Working with VDUs are available free from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA. Or call 01787 881 165. Packs of 10 can be bought from the same address.