Applied IT – Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Health and safety
When was the health and safety act last updated?
The act was last updated in 1992 to cover display-screen equipment.

What is the purpose of the health and safety act?
The purpose of the Health and Safety Act of 1974 is to protect the health, safety and welfare of people in a working environment. It affects both employees and employers.

What are the health and safety responsibilities of the employers?
There are four sections: 1. The employer must carry out an assessment of the workstation before the employee is asked to work there; 2. The employer must provide all the training you require to complete your job safely and effectively; 3. Any employees that work regularly with computers is entitled to a 15 minute break every hour (however, any break from the screen is counted as a break); 4. Employers are required to provide regular eye tests for employees that work regularly with computers, and the employer must provide glasses for employees that require them.

What are the health and safety responsibilities of the employees?
Employees also have legal requirements: 1. Employees must adhere to guidelines provided by the employer during training; 2. Employers must be notified immediately of any issues.

Questions on Health and Safety
What is the break entitlement of those people that work at computers for long periods of time?
Employees are entitled to fifteen minutes of rest time every hour. In practice this is hard to enforce as trivialities such as fetching printing, visiting the photocopier or purchasing drinks from vending machines all count towards break time. In addition, many employees neglect their break entitlements as this may help them with promotion prospects.

What is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is similar to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in that it is caused by repetitive movement, such as typing on a computer. It can be treated with surgery. Symptoms include soreness and tenderness in the hands.

Dan Foy

Created on 11/10/2007 8:16 a10/p10

Subject – Document title

What causes a computer user eye strain?
Computer monitors emit an unnatural light source that humans haven’t evolved to view correctly. Small text may also cause computer users to squint and tire their eye muscles.

Why might men have more to worry about than females when using a computer for long periods of time?
It has been suggested that the radiation emitted by computers may cause men to become sterile.

List other health and safety issues from using a computer for long periods of time
• Back, shoulder and neck ache caused by improper posture.

What is the major reason why people take absence from work?
Work-related stress has become the main cause of absence from work, overtaking the common cold.

How is stress caused from using computers?
There are two main schools of thought: 1. Software packages such as those by Macromedia are hard to use; 2. Inability to use computers, particularly with older generations.

Dan Foy

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