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18 June 1999

Office health and safety - a safety reps' guide
When union reps at a call centre tackled a problem with overcrowding in a room used for computer training, they referred their management to minimum legal space standards. As a result, not only was the problem in that room addressed, but management also took measurements of all other working areas to ensure that the law was being adhered to.

This is just one of the examples of how safety reps have taken action to improve the working environment and prevent accidents and ill health in offices, from the Labour Research Department (LRD's) latest booklet, Office health and safety - a safety reps' guide.

Office work is often perceived as "safe" in comparison with work in traditional heavy industry. But every year, thousands of office workers are seriously injured, and many more suffer ill health as a result of their work.

According to Labour Force Survey (LFS) statistics, there are around 30,000 accidents serious enough for office workers to take more than three days off work each year, and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) survey found that 90,000 office workers get repetitive strain injuries (RSI) every year.

In addition, office workers are are all too familiar with the problems of overcrowding, poor lighting, hot working conditions in the summer and discomfort from tobacco smoke. Each year, some 9,000 office workers suffer ill-health that they believe is caused by their indoor working environment or lighting at work.

Office health and safety - a safety reps' guide, contains sections on the office environment, office buildings and services, office equipment, welfare facilities in offices, the main health and safety issues for office workers, together with sections setting out health and safety law and safety reps' rights. It is an invaluble guide to health and safety for office workers and their representatives.

Notes to editors

Office health and safety - a safety reps' guide is published by the Labour Research Department, 78 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HF, price ?3.25 or ?10 for non-labour movement bodies.
LRD Booklets are also available on subscription at an annual cost of ?25.75 (?65.90 for non-labour movement bodies). LRD publishes 10-11 booklets a year.
The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded over 80 years ago. More than 2,000 trade union organisations, including 54 national unions, representing 99% of total TUC membership are affiliated.
For press enquiries only contact Paul Stephenson on 0171 902 9826. The telephone number for orders is 0171 928 3649.

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