Upper limb disorders – DSE case study

Incorrect DSE setup is often the cause of work-related injuries. Take the following example from the HSE website:

Jane works in a busy call centre. Her work requires repetitive use of a mouse and keyboard and constant use of a display screen.

Towards the end of shifts, Jane would notice that her arms and her right hand were tired after work, and the left side of her neck was painful.

The mouse was being used in an awkward position, with the wrist bent backwards and the underside rubbing on the desk. These are a common cause of Upper Limb Disorders and, on diagnosis, she was told she had carpal tunnel syndrome.

The pain in her neck was due to the awkward posture adopted while cradling the telephone, along with her desk height and monitor position being incorrect.

After reporting the problems, a risk assessment was carried out and the following changes were made:

  • Installation of adjustable keyboard tray to enable the comfortable positioning of her wrists, allowing the neck and shoulders to relax.
  • Reduction in time spent using the mouse by learning keyboard shortcuts and alternating mouse from left to right hand.
  • Changed type of mouse for comfortable wrist posture.
  • Chair adjusted correctly to support her entire back and a footrest was provided.
  • Provision of a headset to eliminate the need to cradle the phone.
  • Work modified to encourage movement and varied posture.

These changes meant that Jane avoided further discomfort and possible surgery and could continue to work productively.

See the full case study here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/experience/ulimboffice.htm