As an Ofcom study reveals that people are spending an average of two hours on their smartphones every day, an increasing number of employers are encouraging or supporting their staff to work from mobile devices without providing guidance on safe usage. Now, a team of ergonomic experts has launched Mobile Office Ltd, a new resource to fill a gap in government guidance on meeting the display screen equipment (DSE) regulations for mobile workers.
The benefits of mobile working, whether staff are using laptops, tablets, phablets or smartphones, are plentiful for both employers and employees, allowing for more flexible working, faster communication, and cost savings as well as improving work-life balance.
However, the constant use of mobile devices is associated with a rising number of strain injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and digital eye strain. According to the UK health and safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), three in five people show symptoms of MSD, resulting in them taking an average of 15.9 days’ sick leave each year.
Sarah Tapley, who recently co-founded Mobile Office Ltd with Ed Milnes, to offer guidance and a unique mobile working risk management system, explained the pain that mobile technology is causing and the importance of preventing its health risks: “We have entered the age of Texting Thumb and Texting Neck, through the repetitive use of mobile devices. Businesses are seeing the benefits of mobile working, but it is important that employers still meet their legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other regulations, to prevent DSE health risks for staff using mobile technology for work, just as they would in an office environment.”
Sarah continued: “It’s not surprising that the health and safety measures employers abide by in the office environment aren’t applied to their mobile workers as the government’s current guidance for DSE regulations cannot be readily applied to mobile workers.”
As Chartered Ergonomists, Sarah and Ed co-founded Mobile Office Ltd, combining their 37 years’ experience working as specialist inspectors for the HSE to introduce essential resources that can help employers meet the health and safety regulations applied to mobile working. This includes detailed guidance, online assessments and regular updates.