Mousemat reminder to Derbyshire office staff on back injuries

health bosses in Derbyshire have launched a new mousmat they hope will remind office workers to be mindful of back injuries.

MUSCULOSKELETAL injuries are one of the major causes of staff absence in the UK, making them a costly condition for many organisations. However with some simple measures, such injury can be prevented or controlled at work.

With this in mind the Health, Safety and Risk team at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (DHCFT) have created a mousemat to encourage all desk based staff to consider their display screen equipment (DSE), desk and chair set up to reduce the likelihood of back injuries occurring. The mousemats have a modern and colourful design and give practical advice on how to make minor changes to your workstation which can help to prevent discomfort and injury.

Computer workstations or equipment can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain. Surveys have found that a high proportion of DSE workers report aches, pains or eye discomfort. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 aim to protect the health of people who work with DSE. The mousemat helps people meet these regulations; just taking a few simple precautions can make working with DSE more comfortable and productive.

The Health, Safety and Risk team at DHCFT have been working to reduce the impact musculoskeletal injuries have upon the Trust, carrying out on site assessments, providing support and advice and even introducing an online assessment tool for staff. From April 2010 to March 2011 there were 68 referrals to Occupational Health concerning musculoskeletal problems compared to 104 for the same period the previous year. Whilst not all of these referrals were work related a large number relate to problems with the back, arms/wrist and neck. It is hoped the new mousemat and the posters which accompany them will further improve these figures.

Robert Morgan, Health and Safety Adviser for DHCFT, said: ‘We’re delighted with the mousemats and we hope they will serve as a convenient reminder for staff to help them ensure their workstations are correctly set up to avoid any injury or discomfort.

“The Health, Safety and Risk team has seen significant reductions in the numbers of staff seeking occupational health referrals for work related musculoskeletal injuries over the past year, and we hope to see this trend continue over the coming months with the aid of the new mousemat.”