As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. However, there is such a thing as a lunch break and the opportunity to take a breather can have enormous benefits for both your physical and mental health as well as helping avoid accidents at work.
Statistics for a lunch break
A survey by BUPA in 2011 found that a mere 30 per cent of Britain’s workforce took a full lunch hour, with pressure from bosses and heavy workloads cited as the main reasons for the free time being skipped.
This can cause a number of problems in both the long and short term, particularly if you work at a computer screen. The potential for workplace accidents and work-related illnesses as a result of missed lunch breaks is a very real issue.
Repetitive strain injuries are one of the most common consequences of over-working in an office environment, and can often be extremely problematic to recover from. The dangers of sitting at a computer screen for too long include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
Micro-trauma in the soft tissues – Repeated work at a computer can cause fatigue in the tiny muscles located in the forearm and hands of the employee. These tissues can tear if overused and become tender and swollen. A good break enables the body to recover and repair.
Tendon sheath inflammation – Frequent tensing of tendons and muscles can thicken the lubricating synovial fluid which allows tendons to move within sheaths. This can cause inflammation, pain and, in extreme cases, permanent damage.
Impaired circulation – Prolonged sitting, as well as other static postures, can cause circulation problems within the body which, over time, can reduce the ability of muscles to function.
Most people require timed reminders to ensure breaks are not missed and injuries at work suffered. The best way to avoid repetitive strain injuries is to take breaks before the symptoms appear, thus nipping any potential accidents at work in the bud before the serious problems arise.
If you have suffered injuries at work, Accident Advice Helpline can get you the compensation you deserve. Their Freephone advice line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and their dedicated team have over 13 years’ experience in dealing with personal injury claims.
Supported by consumer champion Esther Rantzen, they will usually be able to settle your case outside court.