date: 21 February 2002
embargo: 00.01 hrs, Saturday, 23 February 2002
The TUC will today (Saturday) issue guidance for 200,000 union safety reps, and urge them to use their legal powers to inspect their workplace for the risks of RSI (repetitive strain injury) on International RSI Awareness Day next Thursday (28 February).
New figures released by the TUC show that one in fifty workers (506,000) is suffering from the symptoms of RSI, which include pain and immobility in the joints, nerves and muscles from the fingers to the neck. Last year 5.4 million days were lost in sick leave due to RSI, and every day, six workers left their jobs forever because of RSI, even though if caught early enough it can be treated by changing the way work and workplaces are arranged, or by physiotherapy. About a third of workers with RSI are under 45, and just over half (55% - 276,000) are women.
TUC General Secretary John Monks said:
'RSI affects millions of people around the world, and half a million every year in Britain alone. It is entirely preventable, and easily curable if caught early. Union safety reps can now use the HSEs risk filter to help managers get a grip on the risks of RSI, and prevent suffering, job loss and poverty for thousands of people. We want to see partnership in action, preventing RSI.'
The TUC figures show the number of people in each region suffering from RSI, and the number of sick days taken in each region because of the condition every year:
In this mornings issue of Risks (the TUCs online bulletin for safety reps - see www.tuc.org.uk/risks/), the TUC will be launching guidance for union workplace safety reps on how to spot RSI risks in their workplace. Using a "risk filter" designed by the Health and Safety Executive for their inspectors, the TUC guidance will highlight the main factors at work which cause RSI (repetitive work, working posture, use of force and vibration). Safety reps will be asked to inspect their workplace on International RSI Awareness Day (they have legal rights to do this), using the risk filter. The TUC hopes that safety reps will be able to persuade managers to use the risk filter together, working in partnership.
If they find significant risks, they will be advised to ask their management for a full risk assessment of the jobs most at risk to be carried out, with action taken to manage the risks identified.
International RSI Awareness Day falls on the last day of February every year (because that's the only non-repeating date in the calendar - sometimes its 28 February, sometimes 29!) The day is used as a focus for activity by the RSI Association, and this year the Health and Safety Executive and Minister Alan Whitehead MP will be marking the day by issuing revised guidance on how to prevent RSI, at a conference in the TUCs central London headquarters.
Notes to Editors:
All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access
pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
A series of TUC rights leaflets are available on our website and from the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 8am-10pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.
The TUC guidance for safety reps, 'Spotting the risks of RSI', will be on the TUC website on Saturday morning at www.tuc.org.uk/h _and_s/tuc-4462-f0.cfm and is available before that on the www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet site.
For details of other International RSI Awareness Day activities contact the RSI Association on 020 7266 2000.
For details of the Health and Safety Executive conference and revised guidance on preventing RSI, contact:
Media enquiries only: Madeleine Pennell 020 7717 6901
Other enquiries: Sue Brandrick 020 7717 6636
Media enquiries: 020 7467 1248 or 07699 744115 (pager) or email email@example.com
Other enquiries: Owen Tudor on 020 7467 1325 or 07788 715261 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Press release (800 words) issued 26 Feb 2002
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-4494-f0.cfm
printed 24 May 2013 at 16:05 hrs by 184.108.40.206