What is the background
to the Seminar?
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations
have been amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments)
Regulations 2002, which came into force on the 17th September 2002.
The Consultative Document which heralded these changes gave the impression
that this was a tidying up exercise and suggested that "The one-off
cost of £30 million which was highly likely to be outweighed
by increased productivity gain (and reduced absence, turnover etc)
associated with these changes". On the currently available evidence,
this appears to be doubtful. One of the many problems with the Health
and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations is that the Directive
from which they were derived (90/270/EEC) was the subject of political
horse-trading between Member States which resulted in a motley collection
of very badly expressed 'minimum ergonomic requirements', which have
given rise to misunderstandings in the workplace and in the Courts.
The HSE's radically revised guidance on the DSE Regulations
claims that the guidance has been revised "to bring it up to date
with changes in technology and improvements in knowledge of risks and
how to avoid them". While there is new guidance on the application
of the Regulations to homeworkers, teleworkers and agency workers and
new sections on 'Work with portable DSE' and 'Work with a mouse, trackball
or other pointing device', in reality, the revised guidance suggests
an increase in the scope of the DSE Regulations and effectively creates
a range of new "users". The 'spin' now put on the health
risks highlights the potential for upper limb disorders, back pain
and work-related stress.
Recent Judgments in personal injury claims arising
from DSE use will be used to illustrate the complex issues associated
with an employer's duty of care, which are not addressed in the revised
guidance. In addition, the seminar will explore how the health concerns
associated with DSE use, which are not confined to musculoskeletal
disorders and stress, have developed and might progress, e.g. recent
reports of 'e-thrombosis', 'acoustic shock' and dysphonia, which are
not addressed in the revised guidance.
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