VDUs have been blamed - often wrongly - for a wide range of health problems. In fact, only a small proportion of VDU users actually suffer ill health as a result of their work. Where problems do occur, they are generally caused by the way in which VDUs are being used, rather than the VDUs themselves.
The aim of a DSE/VDU risk assessment is to ensure that the risks to the health of employees is kept to a minimum by ensuring that workstations meet the minimum requirements and that good practice is followed.
DSE/VDU legalisation is not normally onerous, however, some companies find compliance somewhat difficult to sustain. This mainly down to reasons such as large numbers of staff, constant office re-organisations, staff alterations new or changing buildings, equipment and furniture. All of which can add to the need for a new or revised DSE risk assessment.
The risks associated with DSE are mainly introduced by prolonged usage, and can range from symptoms related to the visual system and working posture, typically this includes:
Sitting in static positions for long periods, or awkward repetitive movements of the head, body, or arms can cause pains in the neck, shoulders, and arms, as can uncomfortable positioning of the hands and wrists. This condition may well result from poor working techniques or inappropriate work height or station design and often disappear when work stops. However poor workstation design or poor DSE working practices may place users at risk of chronic upper limb disorders (ULDs). Symptoms include pain, swollen tissue, restricted joint movement and in some cases permanent disability.
Whilst there is medical evidence to suggest display screen work does not cause any permanent eye damage, it can cause temporary visual fatigue. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including reduced visual performance, red and sore eyes and headaches. These may be caused by staying in the same position and concentrating for extended periods of time, poor posture and positioning, poor positioning of equipment, poor legibility or focus of the display and poor lighting, including glare and reflections. Display screen work can also make users more aware of any existing sight defects.
Mental Stress and Fatigue,
As in any job, mental stress and fatigue can result from poorly designed tasks or a poor working environment.
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