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General Chat Thread, Staff Laptop Use - 'Elf and Safety in General; Hello, A local school has asked me for advice on SLT and admin staff using their laptops for long (1+ ...
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    Staff Laptop Use - 'Elf and Safety

    Hello,

    A local school has asked me for advice on SLT and admin staff using their laptops for long (1+ hours in a sitting) periods of time and health and safety.

    They've been told that this is not safe and that admin/SLT should have a desktop PC for use in their office, and use their laptops purely for use at home.

    I've never come across this before. Even the idea of a docking station, or pseudo docking station has been pooh-poohed.

    Now I assume that this is a ploy of "I've left me laptop at home" or "It's so heavy to move from my car to my office!" and they want a desktop as well to make life easier.

    Anyone else had experience with this?

    If it is a proper legislated H&S issue, then it's fine, I'd just like to find where in the books it is.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Absolutely no problem with using any equipment for that length of time, I would suggest as a helpful preventative for any DVT, stand up, walk away from the screen and do some basic exercises for 2-3 mins every hour or something like that. Granted not always possible and sounds insane, however a receptionist at a former school I worked at got DVT because she literally didn't move from the desk for the whole time she worked (she never went to the loo, she ate lunch at her desk, which she kept in the draw, drank bottled water which she bought in). Just something to consider.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    There are numerous things to consider here for vdu users.

    Things such as the chair they are using need to be looked at, height of screen which means the laptop may need to sit on a riser to be at the right height.

    Hand/arm position whilst in use meaning they may need a mouse/different mouse rather than the trackpad and an external keyboard, all of these things could be connected to a generic usb docking station so that they only have to unplug 1 usb lead when they want to take it away.

    There is no problem with them using a laptop all day everyday if these things are taken in to consideration where a laptop would be a suitable device i.e they need to take it with them, giving in and pandering to the desktop pc/laptop to take home isn't needed.

    Ben

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    One of our users has difficulty with her eyes and only had a laptop, so in the absence of a docking station I've just hooked it up to a keyboard/mouse/monitor in her office and she can use it there ad infinitum.

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    Isn't it funny how some schools become obsessed with the ergonomics of computers, with everything having to promote good posture, yet in a normal classroom the pupils sit on hard plastic chairs hunched over books lying flat on the table and no-one bats an eyelid?

  6. Thanks to AngryTechnician from:

    SYSMAN_MK (14th November 2013)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    It's amusing if not ironic indeed. After all, the teachers are the ones that should be setting examples and teaching the kids.

    But as above, there are no rules/laws in place. Promote good posture and use to staff and I would expect some of that to filter through to the kids although clearly not by osmosis. If a particular school is worried then perhaps mandatory VDU usage training (yes, it's still called VDU... )

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    We've had a visit from the Health and Safety inspectors from somewhere to look over our new building. They've told the office manager that there is now a rule that anyone using a laptop for more than an hour must have a docking station (presumably attached to a monitor and keyboard/mouse!). I can't find anything online after a short search session, other than general guidelines (ie. not legal requirements).

    This would affect staff on PPA, myself, and potentially any child using a laptop for more than an hour. We no longer have an IT Suite.

    Has anyone managed to find out any more about this?

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    It's amusing if not ironic indeed. After all, the teachers are the ones that should be setting examples and teaching the kids.

    But as above, there are no rules/laws in place. Promote good posture and use to staff and I would expect some of that to filter through to the kids although clearly not by osmosis. If a particular school is worried then perhaps mandatory VDU usage training (yes, it's still called VDU... )
    Erm well yes there is actually that would be Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf

    Ben

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Another good link

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/faq-dse.htm

    No it doesn't apply to students.

    Ben

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    The most ridiculous thing on that last link is the bit about "My wrist aches when I use my mouse. How can I prevent this?". An entire paragraph of recommendations follows and not once is the single most effective change mentioned: lower your mouse sensitivity. Every single person I have ever had complain of wrist ache from using the mouse has had it disappear within days of turning the mouse sensitivity down.

    The fact that HSE don't even know about this tells you all you need to know about their expertise on RSI.

    And as for this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andie View Post
    We've had a visit from the Health and Safety inspectors from somewhere to look over our new building. They've told the office manager that there is now a rule that anyone using a laptop for more than an hour must have a docking station (presumably attached to a monitor and keyboard/mouse!). I can't find anything online after a short search session, other than general guidelines (ie. not legal requirements).
    99.9% certain they are making it up. I would give these cretins 24 hours to provide documentary evidence of any regulation containing this supposed rule. When they can't manage it, I would tell them to go **** themselves. Only I wouldn't bleep it out when I told them, which is the sort of thing my parole officer tells me I should work on, but my way is more fun.

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    I recently had Access to Work do a workplace assessment. They recommended a desktop (well actually a laptop with docking station) because you sit hunched over a laptop. I appreciate that my circumstances are different (I had cauda equina syndrome) but the advice still remains for people who spend a long time in front of a screen.

    I look forward to having a sentient computer with holographic avatars like on Andromeda then my problems will all be solved....

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Erm well yes there is actually that would be Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf

    Ben
    Yup, this has to be complied with. Sometimes it does take some nagging from the employees to get it enforced sometimes. I've worked in a place that thought it was perfectly acceptable for us to work on laptops for 7-8 hours a day with no screens. (they provided "docking stations" but only connected keyboards and mice to them).

    Trust me, it is one of the most uncomfortable ways of working, hunched over a laptop screen for hours at a time. Took us moving offices to get screens put on all the hot desks and connected them to the docking stations. Much nicer and more comfortable to work with,

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    And thus I spent 170 with Lindy last week! Modular Desktop Mounting System - poles, arms & brackets for laptops & LCD displays | LINDY UK

    Been working exclusively on MBP for the past 2 years or so... and the shoulder and neck pain was becoming unbearable. Lifted all my monitors and the MBP up on arms, and yesterday and today have been the first pain free days in ages.

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    Suggest standing desks.
    CONSET 501-17| Sit Stand Desk | UK Stockists & Dealers | Free Delivery,

    that way they can still use their laptop and don't need a chair either!

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    I have yet to come across a teacher who meets the criteria of a DSE user as most lessons are an hour long and the teachers aren't using the screen continuously without breaks. My exception to that is SLT who do not have a full timetable and have offices where they could (potentially) meet the DSE user criteria. Even then it is an issue for the health and safety officer not ICT Support. Your involvement should be to help provide solutions once the issues have been identified.

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