The ScreenSmart campaign is a new charitable initiative designed to provide employers with practical advice and resources to help care for employees’ eye health. This is after a new study commissioned by the Eyecare Trust and healthcare provider Simplyhealth, suggests 89% of British businesses are failing to meet their legal obligations to protect their staff’s sight.
Office workers spend 128,740 hours staring at a screen during their working lifetime so it is no surprise that 90% say they regularly suffer screen fatigue – headaches, sore or tired eyes, impaired colour perception and blurred vision. To combat the visual stress associated with prolonged screen use Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations place a legal obligation on employers to care for the eye health of staff who regularly use a computer screen at work.
The ScreenSmart study found many employers fail to meet even the most basic element of the legislation such as providing regular sight tests and, one in ten has no eye care policy at all. The worst offenders are small businesses employing fewer than 10 people. One in five make absolutely no provision for eye care, only a third offer to pay for sight tests and just a quarter say they ensure workstations are designed to minimise glare or reflections – two factors that can trigger screen fatigue and cause visual trauma. Big businesses also show a worrying disregard for the legislation with almost one in five failing to pay for regular sight tests and two in five saying they would refuse to make a contribution towards the cost of spectacles required solely for computer work.
James Glover from Simplyhealth says, “Companies could offer employees a cash plan to provide cover for eye tests and prescription glasses.”