Staying healthy at work

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Staying healthy at workOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Howard Popeck reviews RSI prevention software and an online personalergonomics managerWorkPace RSI prevention software The commercial world remains severely lacking in its attempt to offer officeworkers preventative measures and treatment for RSI (repetitive strain injury).But following the introduction of WorkPace, workers are finally being presentedwith help to reduce the risk of RSI injuries associated with long-term use ofcomputers. WorkPace is intended to stop you from getting sore eyes or aches and painsfrom using a computer. The key is pacing your work – maintaining an even workrate, taking regular breaks, and doing exercises to rejuvenate your muscles.Breaks refresh mind and body and are proven to reduce fatigue and enhanceproductivity. Designed to maintain maximum efficiency, productivity and well-being,WorkPace uses a continuous animated status display, with feedback on individualperformance, prompts for on-screen exercises and comprehensive statistical dataon all breaks taken, time worked, typing speed and mouse usage. In addition, the software warns when ‘micro’ pauses and rest breaks areneeded, as well as educating users on posture, ergonomics and RSI prevention.Other features include the printing of graphs, tables and summaries so thatemployers can measure exposure to hazards while checking reports on users most atrisk. Endorsed by the UK RSI Association, WorkPace has been developed inassociation with leading health and safety specialists, and is currently beingused by more than 500,000 PC users worldwide. It has already been adopted bymajor organisations including Shell, Ericsson, PwC, ING Bank, Philips andCoca-Cola. WorkPace will often force a change in working habits and an increase inawareness of the need to take breaks. Some might find it irritating at first,but the makers claim that after a month or so, you will get used to the breaksand the warnings. Recorded WorkPace statistics prove that, in most cases, thepauses and breaks that the WorkPace prompts, don’t take more than five minutesa day in total. For an employer, WorkPace claims to save money by reducinginsurance premiums/workers compensation and reducing absenteeism and sickleave. It enables you to meet health and safety legislation and protectsagainst civil liability. Moreover, it minimises risks of RSI, providesautomatic monitoring of computer use and breaks, and it educates and trainsemployees. WorkPace is an intelligent software response to a real-world problem. Theonly black mark is that is not available for Apple Mac users. The accompanyinghandbook is informative, sensibly indexed and engagingly written. – WorkPace can be downloaded from the Home Working Solutions website for a30-day free trial. Online Personal Ergonomics Manager Smart though WorkPace is, it isn’t the whole story when combating RSI. Withmore and more people sitting in a static position, staring at a computer screenfor long periods of time, it is not surprising that the number of work-relatedinjuries and claims against employers is on the increase. In response,ErgoTrack, a personal ergonomics manager designed to custom-fit a user’s workarea, has been released. Many computer users are unaware of the health risks. Furniture and computerequipment is often not tailored to an individual’s requirements – but with somequick and simple adjustments, it now can be. With ErgoTrack and a tape measure,users can eliminate awkward posture and prevent repetitive motion injuries,headaches, fatigue, eyestrain and low back and shoulder soreness. It’s claimed that ErgoTrack’s Fit Yourself Online and Adjustment programsare based on proven ergonomic design principles and anthropometric data.ErgoTrack recommends or corrects computer workstation layouts to fit yourgender, standing height and job profile. It provides 11 critical dimensions forthe optimal work area, as well as a wide range of information, analysis andreporting facilities. It was developed in association with leading medical andergonomic consultants, and has already been used by thousands of workersworldwide. Changing work patterns mean that many people sit for hours a day in front ofa computer, but the increasing population of self-employed and home workers arenot subject to normal workplace supervision and routines, and are more likelyto be at risk from inappropriate furniture, work layouts and practices.ErgoTrack addresses these issues and helps to eliminate potentially seriousproblems associated with poor posture, such as back pain, RSI and eyestrain. ErgoTrack can be downloaded from the Health Centre on the Home WorkingSolutions website for only £14.95 (US$23.20).

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