Is carrying out Workstation (DSE) Assessments a waste of time and money…?
To ensure employees are correctly using them, a Workstation (DSE) Assessment for every worker who uses a computer for his/her work is a legal requirement for a company, no matter how small or large. Unfortunately however, employers feel it is an unnecessary task, one that is expensive and provides few benefits. So at worst they ignore this responsibility, or at best, they provide on-line assessments which are far from adequate. Clients who have had an online assessment complain that it isn't accurate and making changes relies on them, the users, knowing what is correct. Whilst this is a cheaper option, it is not an effective one - on-line assessments can do part of the job, a traditional 2 legged human assessor is needed to complete the job. An analogy would be that of a scanner - it takes the scan but a radiologist is required to interpret it and a doctor to plan the treatment. The scanner cannot be relied to be radiologist and doctor as well.
So, employers should think again: the cost of carrying out a health focused workstation assessment is nothing compared to the financial drain that can result from Stress and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) associated with incorrect computer setup/use.
Let’s do a rough calculation to ascertain financial cost and compare that to what my fees are. I charge £350 (plus travel) to carry out a Workstation (DSE) Assessment for someone who is experiencing MSD/Stress. This usually takes half a day. I list below what is included in this Assessment but for now, let’s look at the cost to the business of one employee’s ill health associated with incorrect computer setup/use.
Absenteeism: Taking a salary of £34,000 (roughly average in the Thames
Valley) and the intangible costs (e.g. overheads) to the business = around £200/day.
Presenteeism: missed deadlines, increased workload on colleagues; management involvement; team conflict; paid overtime to colleagues = this figure cannot be assessed because it has too many variables and has far reaching consequences.
Legal action against the employer: how long is a piece of string?
The latest statistics from the HSE & TUC 2014/15 show the following:
9.9 million due to Stress, Depression or Anxiety
9.5 million due to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)
Sufferers on average took:
23 days off for Stress, Depression or Anxiety
17 days off due to Musculoskeletal Disorders
Cost to the UK economy in lost revenue is over £10 billion
So my fee, at which you balked when you first read it, is equivalent to roughly half a day’s salary of an employee on average salary…but how many man hours/days , would this save your company…and what would be the financial drain if you didn’t have the Assessment done?
Isn’t taking preventative action a simpler and inexpensive process?
So what is included in the FiXme Health-focused Workstation (DSE) Assessment?
A. For those with Stress Induced Problems and/or MSDs:
Information gathering: Before commencing the Assessment, I meet up with HR/Decision Maker to ascertain the situation.
Questionnaire: I send one out to the employee concerned to find out about their computer set up. This is analysed and areas of concerns noted so when I arrive at the offices, I am already aware of the areas needing attention.
Consultation: I meet up with the employee where I get a full history of the problem from their perspective, as well as an idea of their general physical and emotional health.
Observation: I observe the employee whilst they use their computer – this is the most important aspect of the Assessment because it enables me to note their posture, computer set up and general habits, all of which I scrutinise. My 15 years’ experience as a Clinician in Stress & Pain Management and my training in Computer Ergonomics comes into play here. Once I know what they are doing incorrectly, I can use my knowledge of the body and it’s workings to put remedies in place. During this this time, I also note any potential Stress inducing situations within the workplace e.g. relationship with colleagues.
Training: Once I have got all this information, I sit down with the employee and discuss my findings.
Area covered include:
✓ Height of monitor
✓ Use of mouse
✓ Keyboard position
✓ Chair and desk height
✓ Desk set up
✓ FiXme's Wellbeing Protocol which includes
✓ Breaks & Stretches
✓ Water consumption
✓ Eye strain management
✓ Stress and emotional wellbeing
Review: I meet up with HR/Decision Maker to verbally discuss my findings.
Report: A final report with my findings is emailed to HR/Decision Maker within5 working days of the Assessment
B. For those with no Stress Induced Problems and/or MSDs
For carrying out Assessments for employees with no problems, my fee is£150/employee. Instead of a Consultation I start the Assessments with a Presentation which everyone attends; the remainder of the Assessment is the same as for someone who has a problem.
To conclude: seeing the stark figures of the financial drain your company will sustain as a result of Stress induced problems and/or MSDs, can you afford NOT to engage me (or any other reputable provider) to carry out Workstation (DSE) Assessments for all your staff?
To discuss more, please do get in touch:
T: 0118 926 1464 / 07878 148 229
Diksha Chakravarti – Brief Biography
Diksha Chakravarti is the Director of Fixme Ltd (www.fixme.org.uk), based in Reading, Berkshire. She is trained in ergonomics and has many years experience as a healthcare professional, treating musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) including RSI, headaches and back pain in computer users.
Her clinical experience, skills and training have enabled her to create a successful & high quality programme for prevention and management of MSDs, focusing on Stress and Pain. Included in the programme are Consultancy; Workshops on Stress, Mindfulness and Communication Skills; Provision of health focused workstation DSE assessments and self management tools.
She has written several articles which have been published in The Ergonomist, Nutritional Practitioner, TalkBack, Private Dentistry and the local press.
MSc Behavioural Neurophysiology; BSc (Hons) Psychology; Clinical hypnotherapy; Computer Ergonomics; McTimoney Chirporactic; Diplomas in different techniques of massage, including medical, deep tissue, remedial and sport; fascial release.