Staff who use laptops on a daily basis are reported to have the highest
incidence of musculoskeletal symptoms, according to Dr Lynn McAtamney, director
of Cope occupational health and ergonomic services.
The ergonomics of the typical environments in which laptops are used – cars,
trains, planes or the living-room sofa, for instance – are particularly poor.
This can lead to discomfort and musculoskeletal conditions, particularly of the
neck, back and arms as well as visual or stress-related problems.
If the laptop is necessary for work and is used for extended periods then
the Display Screen Equipment Regulations (1992) apply and there is a duty of
care on the part of the employer. Companies may be exposing themselves to legal
action by not putting in place adequate and proper systems to comply with the
regulations to ensure peripatetic staff are using laptops in a manner which is
not likely to lead to ill health.
Dr McAtemney concluded by offering practical solutions to setting up laptop