Research reveals chronic health issues for UK office workers Wednesday 25 April 2007 PDF Print - 77% of workers suffer eye fatigue, 71% suffer backaches, 67% suffer headaches - 79% of 16-24-year-olds complain of eye fatigue, 80% have backaches - High workloads prevent 31% of workers taking ‘ergo-breaks’ - 47% of employees haven’t been ‘ergo-advised’ - Over two thirds of employees would consider suing their employer over health issues 25 April 2007 – ViewSonic Europe, a worldwide leader in visual display products, today announced results from an independent research project, The ViewSonic @Work @Risk Report, which reveals that millions of British office workers are suffering chronic poor ‘desk health’. The survey of 1,500 UK office workers, conducted in February 2007 by market research firm Tickbox.net, shows a clear link between poor ergonomics knowledge and an increase in symptoms such as headaches, eye fatigue and backache. In response, ViewSonic’s educational resource, www.monitorvictims.com, offers a range of self-help ergonomic tools and educational resources and calls on employers and individuals to heed the warning signs. The study reveals that 46% of office workers spend six or more hours in front of their computer screens a day and the majority (51%) of these are not scheduling appropriate breaks according to ergonomic guidelines. Around three quarters of workers report suffering from headaches (67%), eye fatigue (77%) and backache (71%). The incidence of physical symptoms increases markedly in line with lack of ergo-awareness. Work-induced stress and anxiety is also an issue for 78% of office workers. Lack of awareness Although most office workers say that ergonomic issues are important to them (75%), only a fifth have ever complained to their manager and asked for a better desk, chair, phone or screen, despite the high incidence of health issues. Indeed, a third admit not knowing where to start improving their desktop environment. The lack of knowledge is compounded by low levels of personal initiative; only 15% have tried to investigate best desktop policy or sought professional help, or spoken to friends or colleagues for ergonomic advice. Mel Taylor, Vice President, Director of European Marketing, ViewSonic said: “The research shows that not only are we a workforce plagued by chronic ill-health, but that we lack the will to change at both an individual and corporate level. Employers could eliminate these issues instantly for many staff by promoting better desktop ergonomics. Sadly, the issue is not on the board’s agenda, despite the potential for huge productivity gains.” Youngest are most at risk Alarmingly, it is the youngest office workers that are most at risk. 16-24-year-olds who work the longest screen hours are least likely to be scheduling appropriate breaks. They are one-and-a- half times more likely to suffer headaches (76%) than those aged over 55 (48%). Good equipment has an important part to play as well. Users of CRT monitors were found to be twice as likely to have frequent headaches than users of widescreen LCDs. Indeed, 42% of widescreen users say they never get a headache. Duty of care ignored There may be trouble ahead for employers who do not promote good ergonomics practice; 55% of young employees (16-24-year-olds) report that excessive workloads or peer/management pressure prevents them from scheduling more frequent breaks and are consequently developing poor work habits. Almost half of workers (47%) say they’ve been offered no advice on the best desktop layout or ergonomics best practice in the last 12 months. More than two thirds (69%) say they would consider future legal action if they should develop a long-term illness or disability induced by their office environment. Mel Taylor continued, “Not only are employers ignoring the clear productivity benefits of better IT equipment and ergonomics, they are also ignoring their duty of care responsibility and may be opening themselves up to serious legal liabilities in the future. We urge both employers and employees to change this casual attitude to ergonomics – companies can do a lot more to instil better working practices but armed with even a little more knowledge, employees can look after themselves a lot more effectively too.” Emil Reisser-Weston, ergonomist from e-OfficeSafey.com says: “It is vital that computer users take regular micro-breaks every hour. Just standing up and having a quick stretch will in fact increase productivity and not lessen it. It is all about creating a culture within the organisation where this sort of behaviour is approved.” About ViewSonic ViewSonic® Corp., a worldwide leader in visual display products, allows users to “See the Difference™” by offering comprehensive display solutions for today’s business, education and consumer electronics markets. The company’s products have won more than 2,000 awards globally from independent publications and organisations. Headquartered in Walnut, Calif., ViewSonic was founded in 1987 and is a privately held corporation. -Ends- Notes to editors: The full research findings plus supporting graphics are available online at: www.viewsoniceurope.com/UK/Press/PressReleases.htm www.monitorvictims.com includes the following resources: • Guide to healthy computing • Instant self-help survey • Ergonomic desk environment poster For more information please contact: Ian Pearson ChemistryTM Tel: +44 (0)20 8439 8200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Chemistry TM in the following categories: Men's Interest, Health, Women's Interest & Beauty, Consumer Technology, Business & Finance, Education & Human Resources, Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.