Is Your Employer Protecting You from RSI?

Deborah Krelle
Deborah Krelle
Partner, Head of Industrial Disease

While many employees are now working at home rather than in the office, employers still have a duty of care to homeworkers. Otherwise, members of staff may be at risk of developing work related conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

If you believe your employer hasn’t done enough to keep you safe, either in the office or at home, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

For a free consultation and legal advice get in touch with our Industrial Disease Solicitors and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation with you. We may be able to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis - ask us for details.

Call us on 0808 239 3227 or request a callback

What is Repetitive Strain Injury?

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a general term that describes the pain felt in the upper limbs after carrying out repetitive tasks. It’s often felt in the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

So employers need to be aware of this risk when they’re assigning tasks to members of staff and a risk assessment needs to be done of their place of work.

Can I Claim for RSI?

If you believe you’ve sustained RSI because of your job, it will need to be proven that your employer should have foreseen that you were at risk, and failed to take appropriate precautions. It will also need to be proven that you have a specific upper limb disorder caused by that work. For more information see RSI Claims.

Employers’ Responsibilities to Homeworkers

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must do everything “reasonably practicable” to ensure members of staff are safe at work.

People in jobs that allow or require them to work from home due to Coronavirus are particularly likely to carry out repetitive movements such as typing on a computer keyboard, so it’s essential that their RSI risk is considered with an assessment of their work station.

Make Sure Staff Have Suitable Equipment

Employers must make sure members of staff have the basic equipment they need to work from home, such as keyboards, laptops and monitors.

While some employers may go a step further by providing height-adjustable desks and office chairs, this obviously won’t be possible for every company.

However, they should still advise employees on how to create a comfortable and safe homeworking space and proactively engage with staff on the issue.

Provide Training on Safe Homeworking

Once the safe homeworking space has been set up, employees must know how to make the best use of it.

Employers should therefore provide guidance to ensure the risks that come with extended use of a computer keyboard are addressed. This could include encouraging members of staff to take regular breaks away from their computer, and potentially assigning them tasks that take them away from their desk for a short time.

Employers can also train homeworkers about the health benefits of carrying out stretching exercises, changing position regularly and avoiding eye fatigue.

If you feel there are health and safety risks in your homeworking space, you should let your manager know and discuss what changes can be made.

Anything that is agreed should be put down in writing so you have a clear record of what’s been decided.

Keep Monitoring Home Working Arrangements

Employers should stay in regular contact with homeworkers so they know whether the arrangements you’ve got in place are fit for purpose and can make improvements where necessary.

Greater homeworking is likely to become more and more common as we adjust to the new normal, but that doesn’t mean employers’ health and safety responsibilities are reduced.

If you believe you’ve developed a work related injury such as RSI that your employer should have foreseen, get in touch with our Industrial Disease Solicitors so we can discuss your situation with you.

For free legal advice call our Industrial Disease Solicitors

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