Musculoskeletal and eye-related complaints need to be addressed by employers


Musculoskeletal and eye-related complaints appear to be a common occurrence in every day office life. And a survey we conducted at the Post Office Shop has found that back pain is the most prevalent complaint leaving four in ten desk bound employees in regular discomfort.

According to the Work Foundation, back pain alone costs the UK economy £7bn a year in work-related absences.

But it’s not just back pain that employers should be concerned about. Our poll compiled from over 1,100 responses found that there are a variety of musculoskeletal and eye disorders which are prevalent at work.

After back pain, the most common complaint relates to eye strain. More than one in five employees (21%) cite this as an issue and RSI (9%) and carpal tunnel syndrome (7%) are also symptoms which could lead to absenteeism from the workplace.

The Post Office Shop poll also reveals that contrary to regulations outlined under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, 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.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) has quantified the cost of workplace related sickness per employee in 2013 to be £595 so the importance in alleviating musculoskeletal and eye-related complaints with a better provision of ergonomic products is obvious.

Back support is shown to be the most sought after solution to complaints cited by respondents in the Health and Safety poll undertaken by the Post Office Shop.

As well as seeking ergonomic desk accessories which are proven to reduce health and safety related ailments, employees are also reminded of some simple steps they can take to alleviate discomfort which could adversely affect their day to day productivity.

Tips for improving workstation posture include:

  1. 1. Avoid a slouching back. Good posture is achieved by sitting back into your chair. A back support and foot support will help you sit correctly.
  2. 2. Preventing neck pain by sitting approximately an arms length away from your screen and at the correct height for comfortable viewing (eye level).

In addition even though more than a third of office workers (34%) take less than a 30 minutes lunch break, the NHS recommend not sitting in the same position for long periods and getting active at work wherever possible using the lunch break to exercise.