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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 05:49 GMT 06:49 UK
Welsh workers 'more prone to RSI'
The modern office can involve a lot of work at the keyboard
More office workers in Wales suffer from repetitive strain injury (RSI) than anywhere else in the UK, research suggests.

Problems exist in 43% of Welsh workplaces - compared with the UK average of 30% - and employers are being urged to make conditions safer.

A call is being made for better working practices and more training to help workers avoid problems.

RSI affects one in 50 and accounts for 5.4m lost working days a year.

A campaign - Brain not Strain - has been launched by software developer ScanSoft and is supported by RSI expert Professor Peter Buckle.

Tips to beat RSI
Ensure that your monitor is directly in front of you and not at an angle
Think logically: you adopt a safe and comfortable seating position in your car - do the same at work
Take regular posture breaks when feasible
Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce use of the mouse.
Don't work at the computer if you are experiencing upper body pain or muscle fatigue
Look after yourself - the fitter you are the less susceptible you are to RSI and other ailments

The aim is to raise awareness of RSI in the office workplace and encourage employers and managers to implement preventative measures.

Prof Buckle said: "Computers and computing practices have changed the workplace dramatically with jobs streamlined and updated and many of the repetitive elements being performed by computers and sophisticated software.

"That means we're increasingly becoming slaves to our PCs, sitting hunched over a keyboard performing repetitive typing and mouse-clicking manoeuvres, often using no more than two fingers."

The Brain not Strain campaign encourages employers and staff to be aware of the dangers of RSI.

It also urges them to give serious consideration to making workstations more user-friendly, including finding alternatives to the conventional keyboard and mouse where practical.

Russell Lawson, of the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales, said most employers were well aware of their duties towards staff, but persuading employees help themselves was another matter.

"I don't think there are any employers who would not make sure that their staff have the right kind of chairs or equipment," he said.

"But even when people know they should be using equipment in a certain way, or sitting in a particular position, they can become lazy or complacent and don't think about their posture.

"It may be Friday afternoon, or a really hot day, and they really can't be bothered to sit correctly - we all do it.

"Employers should be reinforcing the message, and reminding staff that, if they don't use equipment properly, they could be storing up serious problems for the future."

Firms failing workers over safety
25 Nov 04 |  Business



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