Nine out of ten employers fail to safeguard employees’ eye health in the workplace.
Following the results of a study by national sight charity the Eyecare Trust and healthcare provider Simplyhealth, the two organisations are to launch the ScreenSmart campaign, which will provide employers with practical advice and resources to help care for employees’ optical health.
The research found that office workers spend an average of 128,740 hours in front of a computer screen during their working lifetime.
Despite legislation that requires all employers to care for the optical health of staff who regularly use a visual display unit (VDU) at work, 44% of employers fail to do so.
While the worst offenders are small businesses employing fewer than 10 people, big organisations also show a disregard for the legislation. One in five (18%) fail to pay for regular sight tests and 40% say they would refuse to make a contribution towards the cost of glasses required solely for VDU work.
As part of the ScreenSmart campaign, more than 2,500 organisations across the UK will be sent copies of the ScreenSmart employers’ guide. This comprises a handbook with clear guidance on employers’ legal obligations, compliance checklists, optical health advice for employees, and an animated film featuring a step-by-step guide to setting up an ergonomic workstation.
James Glover, sales and marketing director at Simplyhealth, said: “Our research suggests some employers’ failure to safeguard employees’ eye health and comply with the HSE regulations is due to lack of understanding that the legislation exists.
“By undertaking the ScreenSmart campaign we hope to raise greater awareness amongst employers about protecting employee eye health and the simple steps they need to take in order to comply with this legislation.
Iain Anderson, chairman of the Eyecare Trust added: “The benefits of investing in an eye-friendly culture are far-reaching as good vision can improve productivity, increase job satisfaction and reduce days lost to eye-related sickness.†
“In fact. we estimate work-related eyestrain and vision problems cost UK industry an estimated £1.58 billion a year through absenteeism and reduced productivity.”
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