Employers will soon be obliged to protect staff from illnesses associated with working long hours on computers, under new proposals adopted recently by the Health and Safety Commission.

The new regulations, make it mandatory for companies to provide adequate chairs, footrests, desks and lighting, regular screen breaks and eye tests and glasses. The measures are supposed to guard against repetitive strain injury, eye problems and general stress caused by working long hours on computers.

Nevertheless, they do not allow for pregnant women to be removed from computer work during their pregnancies; the National Radiological Protection Board does not consider the radiation levels from VDUs strong enough to pose a risk.

The regulations, which will be implemented over the next decade at a cost of up to £42 per workstation, are aimed at addressing the 100,000 cases of RSI reported last year.

For a free copy of the regulations, write to the Sir Robert Jones Memorial Workshops, Units 3 and 5-9, Grain Industrial Estate, Harlow St, Liverpool L8 4UH.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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