Healthy Working MOVE is a new free programme of resources and e-learning courses available to all schools which explain to primary and secondary aged pupils how using electronic devices, carrying school bags and adopting different postures when working and relaxing can affect their bodies. It importantly teaches them how to use technology comfortably and safely. Supporting documentation and practical “top tips to help” information is available for both parents and teachers to download. The online e-learning is a 20 minute course with certificate. It fits perfectly in to the PSHE or ICT curriculum and as information is available for parents/carers, it assists communication with the wider community too. All schools and homes (with internet access) have free access and no information is requested or stored. A link can be posted to the Health Working MOVE www.ergonomics4kids.com via schools websites in order that the training can be accessed at home too.
Health Working Move has been developed by Cardinus Risk Management in conjunction with the Health & Safety Laboratory (part of HSE), and Jolly Back in response to increasing ICT use amongst our children and the growing number now experiencing and being treated for back and neck pain. Back and neck pain is increasing in children and young adults - cases have doubled in the past year.
Recent research shows that in the UK
- 72% of children in Years 3-6 experienced back and neck pain in the past year
- 36% of children in Years 3-6 experienced back and neck pain in the past week
- 64% of children in Years 7-10 experienced back and neck pain in the past year
- 33% of children in Years 7-10 experienced back and neck pain the in the past week
The results of the research indicate the cumulative effect of ergonomic discomfort.
Lorna Taylor BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, MCSP, HPCP said:
“Modern lifestyles and the increase in technology are having detrimental effects on our children’s musculoskeletal health and if not addressed in school and at home now, will have far reaching effects for our children, the future working generation and society. This is a healthcare time bomb.
“It's vital we instil good habits and provide resources so children can be comfortable, be able to concentrate, reach their full potential and work and play sport as they decide, and not be limited by preventable disability and a life in pain.
“Healthy Working is a really comprehensive tool. It contains everything that I have ever wanted to tell a parent, child or teacher.”
Jon Abbott, managing director – ergonomics and safety at Cardinus Risk Management, said:
“For many years we have recognised the risk of ergonomics injuries to adults in the workplace, and Government advice on Display Screen Equipment has long targeted adults. But now our younger generations are using technology more regularly at school and home and yet we are failing to recognise and address the risks. It cannot be right that we work so hard to protect the working population but fail to recognise the impact technology has on children at a critical stage of their physiological development.
“It’s important that we raise children’s awareness of the importance of healthy spine posture, at school and at home. The long-term benefits are many and varied; the cost of failing to address musculoskeletal problems in children could be high. School is where children spend a large proportion of time every week and the health and safety considerations that apply to adults in the respect of technology, seating, lifting and carrying, should also apply to children. They are also at risk from the bad habits they develop at home.”
The e-learning tool is based on the award-winning course Healthy Working that helps to protect adult workers around the world. The information, advice and guidance in Healthy Working MOVE has been designed and presented to appeal to children and young people in ways that will have strong appeal for children and young people. There is a version for primary school children, a version for secondary school children and another for students in higher education.
Healthy Working MOVE is supported by IIRSM, NEBOSH, IEHF and Jolly Back (Back Care and Ergonomics for Children and Schools).
Jon Abbott, managing director – ergonomics and safety at Cardinus Risk Management, added:
“Healthy Working MOVE will teach children how to stay comfortable and safe by using technology sensibly, sitting properly when working and relaxing and managing their school bags correctly.
“We all want to protect our children and spare them pain and discomfort, but as a successful business we also see them as the workforce of the future. By acting now to educate them about healthy working we are potentially preventing a catastrophic and expensive problem in years to come.”