Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, December 29, 1998 Published at 02:31 GMT


Unions wage war on RSI

RSI costs employers £2bn each year

The TUC is to launch major campaigns in the New Year to tackle the "epidemics" of RSI and back strain in the workplace after new research found that sufferers were taking 10 million days off work a year.

The BBC's Khalid Javed: "The TUC accuses employers of ignoring the problem"
The problem costs industry £2bn a year, but few employers provide treatment for sufferers, according to evidence from a survey of 500 union safety representatives.

Over a third of a million workers take time off because of back strain or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), the poll found.

Heatlh experts generally blame poor working environments and bad posture for the complaints.

TUC general secretary John Monks said employers were "ignoring" the huge cost to their businesses.

'Legal and moral responsibility'

He added: "Employers have a legal and moral responsibility to prevent RSI and back strain, but they also have a financial responsibility to their firms.

"Our research suggests they don't even know how much the RSI/back strain epidemic is costing them."

The TUC is to push the government to mount a campaign against back strain as well as calling on companies to monitor sickness absence rates caused by the two problems.

The survey found that back strain is increasing at a faster rate in the North West, followed by the South East and North East, while cases of RSI are increasing more quickly in the North West, South West and South East.

Not just adults

The problem is not just one that is common to adults in the workplace. On Monday, a charity warned that children who spend too long playing computer games could also suffer from RSI.

Body Action Campaign, set up to address the problem, said some children who play the games for hours are already developing signs of RSI - particularly in their thumbs.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

28 Dec 98 | Health
Computer games pose injury risk

31 Jul 98 | Health
Questions to ask yourself

22 May 98 | UK
RSI victory for bank workers

11 Feb 98 | Despatches
My life with RSI

Internet Links

Computer-Related Repetitive Strain Injury

Body Action Campaign



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99