Staying healthy at work

Howard Popeck reviews RSI prevention software and an online personal
ergonomics manager

WorkPace RSI prevention software

The commercial world remains severely lacking in its attempt to offer office
workers preventative measures and treatment for RSI (repetitive strain injury).
But following the introduction of WorkPace, workers are finally being presented
with help to reduce the risk of RSI injuries associated with long-term use of

WorkPace is intended to stop you from getting sore eyes or aches and pains
from using a computer. The key is pacing your work – maintaining an even work
rate, taking regular breaks, and doing exercises to rejuvenate your muscles.
Breaks refresh mind and body and are proven to reduce fatigue and enhance

Designed to maintain maximum efficiency, productivity and well-being,
WorkPace uses a continuous animated status display, with feedback on individual
performance, prompts for on-screen exercises and comprehensive statistical data
on all breaks taken, time worked, typing speed and mouse usage.

In addition, the software warns when ‘micro’ pauses and rest breaks are
needed, as well as educating users on posture, ergonomics and RSI prevention.
Other features include the printing of graphs, tables and summaries so that
employers can measure exposure to hazards while checking reports on users most at

Endorsed by the UK RSI Association, WorkPace has been developed in
association with leading health and safety specialists, and is currently being
used by more than 500,000 PC users worldwide. It has already been adopted by
major organisations including Shell, Ericsson, PwC, ING Bank, Philips and

WorkPace will often force a change in working habits and an increase in
awareness of the need to take breaks. Some might find it irritating at first,
but the makers claim that after a month or so, you will get used to the breaks
and the warnings. Recorded WorkPace statistics prove that, in most cases, the
pauses and breaks that the WorkPace prompts, don’t take more than five minutes
a day in total. For an employer, WorkPace claims to save money by reducing
insurance premiums/workers compensation and reducing absenteeism and sick
leave. It enables you to meet health and safety legislation and protects
against civil liability. Moreover, it minimises risks of RSI, provides
automatic monitoring of computer use and breaks, and it educates and trains

WorkPace is an intelligent software response to a real-world problem. The
only black mark is that is not available for Apple Mac users. The accompanying
handbook is informative, sensibly indexed and engagingly written.

– WorkPace can be downloaded from the Home Working Solutions website for a
30-day free trial.

Online Personal Ergonomics Manager

Smart though WorkPace is, it isn’t the whole story when combating RSI. With
more and more people sitting in a static position, staring at a computer screen
for long periods of time, it is not surprising that the number of work-related
injuries and claims against employers is on the increase. In response,
ErgoTrack, a personal ergonomics manager designed to custom-fit a user’s work
area, has been released.

Many computer users are unaware of the health risks. Furniture and computer
equipment is often not tailored to an individual’s requirements – but with some
quick and simple adjustments, it now can be. With ErgoTrack and a tape measure,
users can eliminate awkward posture and prevent repetitive motion injuries,
headaches, fatigue, eyestrain and low back and shoulder soreness.

It’s claimed that ErgoTrack’s Fit Yourself Online and Adjustment programs
are based on proven ergonomic design principles and anthropometric data.
ErgoTrack recommends or corrects computer workstation layouts to fit your
gender, standing height and job profile. It provides 11 critical dimensions for
the optimal work area, as well as a wide range of information, analysis and
reporting facilities. It was developed in association with leading medical and
ergonomic consultants, and has already been used by thousands of workers

Changing work patterns mean that many people sit for hours a day in front of
a computer, but the increasing population of self-employed and home workers are
not subject to normal workplace supervision and routines, and are more likely
to be at risk from inappropriate furniture, work layouts and practices.
ErgoTrack addresses these issues and helps to eliminate potentially serious
problems associated with poor posture, such as back pain, RSI and eyestrain.

ErgoTrack can be downloaded from the Health Centre on the Home Working
Solutions website for only £14.95 (US$23.20).


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