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MANUAL HANDLING & ERGONOMICS


BRITAIN CALLS IN SICK


Louise Shipley, Senior European Marketing Manager for Health & Comfort at Fellowes, reveals the fi ndings from their latest research, including the staggering news that unhealthy workspaces are costing


UK businesses more than £7billion a year in sick pay. The effect of the working environment on employee welfare is all too often overlooked by businesses. Line managers have a duty of care towards their workers and unhealthy workspaces are seriously affecting the long-term health of office workers. Our latest research revealed that a lack of workplace assessments and badly set up desks are one of the main threats to the long-term health of UK office workers.


a responsibility to make their workplace a safe environment for their employees but, despite that, half of the UK office workers we surveyed reported that they’ve not had a workstation risk assessment in the last 12 months.


Almost three quarters of office workers (73%) now suffer from ailments as a direct result of their workspace, with one in five missing almost three weeks of work a year from health problems such as backache (40%), tense shoulders (37%), eye problems (30%) and even depression (17%). Companies have


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The issue is costing UK businesses more than £7billion per annum in sick pay alone and, as a result, firms are haemorrhaging productivity and money. For some employees, the situation is so extreme that they are taking the issue into their own hands by making purpose-built ergonomic equipment (59%), with more than two thirds taking medication to manage their condition. Unfortunately, a staggering one in 20 has been forced to give up their job altogether.


General practitioners are reporting a direct correlation between badly set up desks and poor posture. Being forced to spend long periods sitting in the wrong position’ is becoming an increasingly common complaint from patients. Most of us spend a great deal of time at our


Almost half of those questioned within our annual survey said these health problems were also having a negative impact on their personal lives too – impacting their relationships (16%) and one in five suffering lasting depression as a result. A quarter of people have seen their personal interests and activities suffer, with 11% giving up sport altogether and another 11% giving up interests and hobbies, such as gardening.


desks so companies need to think long and hard about the conditions their employees are working in – and invest in protecting their health and ultimately, their quality of life.


Clearly, there’s a need for the right kind of supportive, ergonomic accessories such as wrist, back and foot supports, as well as laptop risers to help reduce the number of staff with health issues caused by their workstation.


Implementing workstation risk assessments is also vital but easily adopted by any business. Our free online workstation risk assessment is a good starting point.


www.ergo.fellowes.com


www.tomorrowshs.com


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