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Wednesday 28 July 2021
In April 2020, the Office of National Statistics reported that 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home, 86% of which was a result of the pandemic. As a significant proportion of us continue to work from home, how do employers protect their homeworkers from developing a musculoskeletal disorder?
Jonathan Mitchell and Sian Evans from DAC Beachcroft will explore how employers can protect their workforce from developing MSD’s and provide practical advice on managing this risk.
What are MSDs?
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) is an umbrella term covering a variety of disorders including cumulative back conditions, tendonitis, tennis elbow/epicondylitis, trigger finger/thumb and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers have a duty to perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of its employees’ workstations. This is especially important as employers adopt a more flexible approach to working.
The pandemic also raised concerns in respect of homeworkers’ mental health. It is often the case in MSD claims that a claimant may feel depressed as a result of their condition, which in turn impacts on their prognosis.
Employers should consider issues such as:
This guidance is not only relevant to homeworking but to those that hot desk when they return to the office. Employers will need to ensure that there is sufficient work equipment on desks and that it is arranged with the above guidance in mind.
Employers need to provide information and support, keep risk assessments and information, training and guidance provided to employees under regular review and ensure that employees are working in a safe manner. This will apply as employees start to return to office working over the coming months.
Each condition alleged will have its own pathogenesis and careful consideration will need to be given to whether the workplace exposure has caused a novel injury or whether it has exacerbated or accelerated a pre-existing condition.
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