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.
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.