MAASTRICHT. A large number of employees at the Faculty of Law sit at their computer for longer than six hours a day and many end up with painful or fatigued fingers, wrists, shoulders or neck. This was the outcome of the ‘risk inventory’ survey, held last summer. It asked questions about the workplace and the work carried out in front of a computer monitor. There were slightly more women than men among the fifty participants (the faculty has about 250 employees), and most of them were over forty.
For a quarter of the respondents, the pain or complaints of fatigue continue after work and at nighttime. Sixteen per cent even suffered pain all the time. The cause is probably the many hours of working at a monitor and not alternating this with other activities or short breaks. Half of them skip the ten-minute break after two hours of computer work and hardly any use the break software CtrlWORK. Flexing and stretching are also wasted on the law faculty staff: seventy per cent do no exercises to promote good blood circulation.
While the majority has no problems with their sight, half of them nevertheless complain of burning or fatigued eyes. Most say they have had their eyes tested at some stage – which can be done free of charge at the Health and Safety service Arbo Unie, which provides industrial medical care at Maastricht University (77 per cent, however, does not know that this possibility exists).
As far as climate is concerned, more than half find it too warm during the summer, while almost a quarter finds it too cold in the winter. The quality of the air is assessed by 32 per cent as mediocre to very bad.
The faculty is going to offer more information in the future, now that more than 40 per cent claims to be insufficiently informed about how to sit properly at their desks. In the faculty newsletter they want to refer to the workplace survey, the importance of having eyes tested at the Arbo Unie, and the need to alternate tasks regularly and to take short breaks. There will also be a short instruction video on how to set up a workplace properly.