results show ‘screen slaving’ workers putting their health at
NORTH West office workers
are putting their mental and physical health at risk by working more
than two hours extra each night on their commute and at home, a new
survey for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) reveals.
60% of officers workers polled in the region for the CSP said they
continued working on smartphones and other devices after they left
the office, and spent an average of 2 hours 5 minutes doing so.
These stints came on top of an average of 6 hours 13 minutes in
front of a screen in the office during their regular working day.
The national averages were 2 hours 18 minutes of work at home after
6 hours 22 minutes in front of a screen in the office.
The results are being released to coincide with the CSP’s Workout at
Work Day on 19 June 2012, when physiotherapy staff across the UK encourage
people to be more physically active in order to combat stress and
avoid musculoskeletal disorders, like back pain. On Workout at
Work Day about 350 physiotherapists will go into workplaces across
the UK to demonstrate easy, low-cost ways for employers to help
their staff lead healthier lives.
Dr Helena Johnson, chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy,
said:- “The results of this survey are a huge concern to
physiotherapists, who see the consequences of poor posture and bad
working practices each day.
While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good
short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine
then it can lead to problems such as back and neck problems, as well
as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you’re
using handheld devices and not thinking about your posture. Talk
with your employer if you are feeling under pressure.
Workout at Work Day is designed to raise awareness of how important
it is to look after your mental and physical health to ensure a good
It is good that so many employers are taking part in the CSP’s
Workout at Work Day but as these survey results show, there is still
a lot more that can be done to improve the health of the nation’s
The survey also revealed:-
► 51% of office workers said their out of hours working had
increased in the past 2 years, but of these people just 7% said
their boss was trying to do anything about it.
► The main reasons cited for doing extra work were to
pressure of the working day’ (38%) and ‘too much work to do’ (34%).
► 28% of people surveyed said additional work at home helped reduce
their overall stress levels.
► A worrying 20% want their boss to offer counselling services for
Physiotherapists are concerned that ‘over working’ is storing up
both physical and mental health problems for the future;
particularly since 66% of those surveyed reported suffering
job-related ill health such as headaches and back pain.
The CSP warned that poor posture when using smartphones and other
mobile devices; which many people do their additional work on; can
lead to back and neck pain. Fewer than 1 in 4 people told the
survey that they considered their posture when looking at screens
outside of work. Long hours can also contribute to stress-related
The CSP hopes employers will become more aware of the need to keep
their staff healthy, and will use Workout at Work Day to encourage
better working habits among staff. Simple low cost measures include:
► Encouraging staff to report any concerns about their health at an
► Encouraging staff to take regular breaks and be physically active
► Displaying leaflets and posters promoting good posture, health
advice and activities for staff
► Arranging and supporting activities that help staff to get active,
like lunchtime walking clubs
► Creating links with local gyms and clubs
► Implementing a Cycle to Work scheme and taking advantage of a tax
exemption enabling you to loan to staff cycles and cycling equipment
as a tax-free benefit
► Encouraging active travel to and from work e.g. cycling, walking
► Encouraging workstation assessments to reduce and treat
Access to physiotherapy, fitness classes and ergonomically-designed
chairs were three services that many workers in the survey said they
would like their employer to pay for.
The CSP has produced a new free leaflet in association with the
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development called:- ‘Under
Pressure’. This looks at the link between physical activity and
mental wellbeing, with advice on staying happy and healthy at work.
For more information about Workout at Work Day or to access free
leaflets with advice on staying fit for work, visit:-
csp.org.uk/wowd. The Twitter hashtag
for the day is #workoutatwork.
welcomes new proposals to keep rogue builders from your door
RICS (Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors) has welcomed new measures announced by the
government last week to protect North West residents from
incompetent "cowboy" builders.
Tradesmen who operate self-check schemes, which allow them to assess
their own work, will need to be accredited to an international
quality standard in order to operate, the Department for Communities
and Local Government said on Wednesday 6 June. Under the system
there are also 18 independent organisations that will now conduct
unannounced spot-checks, rather than intermittent prearranged
inspections, to make the scheme more rigorous.
The proposals will also ensure that householders have a financial
safety net in place such as a guarantee or insurance to catch rogue
builders if they fail to complete work to a suitable standard.
Ian Perry, RICS North West Residential spokesperson says:-
“Every year the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) receives thousands of
complaints relating to cowboy builders and their poor workmanship.
So these new measures are extremely needed as they will further
protect people from shoddy work and raise the bar for self-check
To coincide with this announcement, RICS is warning residents of the
problems that can arise from choosing a building contractor based on
price alone, as too good to be true quotes often are and can lead to
legal disputes if the work completed is not to a quality standard.
To reduce the risk of getting into a legal dispute with a
contractor, RICS strongly advises using a qualified practitioner who
is a member of a recognised trade association or professional body
as this means that they should adhere to required codes of practice.
Such organisations will also have an appropriate regulatory
framework or protection scheme in place which will help resolve a
dispute, should one ever arise.
Ian, a chartered surveyor at Your Housing Group adds:- “Good
builders are often a little pricier, not to mention extremely busy,
especially with the increasing number of homeowners making
improvements to their property instead of moving. However, they are
worth the wait and the additional spend as quality work will stand
the test of time.”
RICS recommend using the following site:-
findabuilder.co.uk to locate a suitable
professional contractor within your specific area.
STAFF PAY THE
PRICE FOR “FREE” SCHOOL
UNISON the UK’s largest
public sector union representing 1.4 million members is appalled
that nearly a hundred Support Staff and Teachers are to be sacked in
the closure of 2 Merseyside schools while at the same time a new
“Free” school is being established.
St George of England High School and St Wilfrid’s Catholic High
School, both in Sefton, Merseyside were scheduled for closure in
2013 due to falling pupil numbers however this was brought forward
to 2012 because of the formation of the Hawthornes Free School. The
Council and the new “Free School” have been locked in a battle as to
whether the staff working at both high schools have the right to be
transferred to the new school under the Transfer of Undertakings
Protection of Employment (TUPE).
The new Free School refuses to accept the transfer of the existing
Support Staff and teachers and are advertising posts nationally
while at the same time nearly a hundred dedicated staff at the two
existing High Schools received dismissal notices from Sefton Council
but they are refusing to pay them their redundancy entitlement.
The Chair of Governors at St George of England and also
‘coincidentally’ Chair of the new Free School Trust has recently
resigned. One of his last acts as Chair of Governors was to sign the
letter to all of his staff informing them that they would be
dismissed without their legal entitlement to redundancy on 31
UNISON, the trade union representing School Support staff, has over
the last few months been attempting to protect their members’ rights
and are concerned that the staff are casualties of the battle
between the Council and the new Free School.
Glen Williams Branch Secretary and National Service Group Executive
Member said:- “The way these staff have been treated is quite
appalling. The Council and New Free School need to treat these staff
with some dignity and agree whether TUPE applies or whether staff
should be made redundant with their entitlement to redundancy pay.
Instead they have been dismissed from their posts without any
redundancy payments. UNISON will vigorously
pursue claims for it’s members through the legal system if necessary
and have instructed their lawyers to issue notice to the parties
informing them of their legal responsibilities. We urge the Council
to rescind the dismissal notices sent out to staff until agreement
can be reached on whether staff are entitled to transfer to the new
Free School under TUPE or be made redundant”
They went on to say:- “We
are not surprised that the Chair of Governors has resigned given the
chaos caused by the establishment of the Free School and yet his
position was secured as Chair of Governors of the new free school”.