Are You Sitting Comfortably At Your Workstation?

By Robert Stebbings, Communications Manager, Post Office Shop

According to the Work Foundation, back pain alone costs the UK economy £7bn a year in work-related absences so the Post Office Shop decided to commission a survey exploring in more detail musculoskeletal and eye related ailments affecting Britain’s workforce.

Our research revealed that almost a third of workers are aware that one of their colleagues has been absent from work due to workstation-related ailments (31 per cent). With absenteeism costing an average of £595 per employee according to the 2013 Annual Survey Report produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in conjunction with Simplyhealth, clearly this is a serious problem that needs addressing.

Alarmingly, what we discovered was that nearly two-thirds of Britain's office workers (63 per cent) complain of aches and pains at their workstation which, more often than not, could be alleviated by adopting an improved workstation posture and by utilising a range of ergonomic solutions.

As the most common ailment that needs addressing, four in ten of those questioned in the survey cited back and neck pain as their main complaint leading to reduced productive working time.

Intriguingly, twice as many men (48 per cent) than women (24 per cent) complain about back and neck ache at their workstation suggesting the male office working population is particularly vulnerable to musculoskeletal disorders.

The poll also reveals that less than a third of employees (29 per cent) using Display Screen Equipment (DSE) in their daily lives have received an eye test voucher they are legally entitled to from their employer to address symptoms associated with eye strain.

There is clearly an onus on many employers to take health and safety at work more seriously and adhere to regulations and guidelines such as the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 that relate to musculoskeletal and eye related ailments.

It is equally important that employers consistently and fully educate their staff to sit correctly and adopt the correct posture to mitigate the risk of potential injury and subsequent absence.

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