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Health & Safety Week #HSWeek16


Office Pilates

As leading architectural consultants, health and safety plays a major role in all aspects of our work. Throughout our 10 years in the industry we have developed a keen eye for spotting hazards and risks well in advance, and providing suitable safety measures to overcome these issues. We are positive this consideration is commonly shared between all of us within the Built Environment, but how often do we all focus our ‘Health and Safety Eye’ within our own workplace?

In light of the upcoming Health & Safety Week running from the 20th -24th of June, we take this ideal opportunity to scrutinise our office habits. After all, we spend approximately 57% of our total waking hours at work [1], which equates to long hours spent unmoving at our desks. In order to ensure we are treating our body well during these hours we can take a look at ergonomics; the applied science of equipment design.

The most common aspect of ergonomic concerns workstation layouts. Be sure you are aware of some basic considerations for your workspace: [2]

  • Frequently used items are in easy to reach locations
  • Leg room is sufficient
  • Work surface height is at an appropriate level
  • Lighting is of suitable levels for your work
  • Chairs are of appropriate height for the person and the workstation

By following these guidelines you will not only find your workstation a comfortable place to work, you may also drastically reduce the chance of long term injury caused by gradual repetitive strain. These injuries are characterised as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD), also known by various names such as Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) and Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). While symptoms may not always be visible, be sure not to ignore any discomfort or pain in muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Tasks involving repetitive movement, sustained or unnatural postures or forceful movements are usually a factor with these types of injuries. They may happen gradually, but must be taken seriously as they can have a great impact on our health.

‘Almost 31 million days of work are lost a year due to back, neck and muscle problems, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). ‘

In order to begin tackling the problem of muscle strain, here at james & WARD headquarters we have been embracing suitable stretches for the office environment. Just a few minutes each day incorporating stretches into your daily routine can have massive benefits, including helping to:

  • Reduce fatigue
  • Improve balance
  • Improve posture
  • Improve muscle co ordination

Here’s a quick stretch you can do right now, to help keep your wrists mobile and healthy.
Straighten your arm in front of you and bend your wrist forward, gently assist the stretch with your other hand. Hold for 10 seconds then stretch your wrist back and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other arm.

 HSWeek Stretch

Periodic stretches throughout the day is a great way to check in with your body and take note of any aches or discomfort. For further stretches you can try in the office, check out the following link:

Welfare is an important part of our ethos; for ourselves, our clients, and users of the buildings we design. From slips and trips to falls from height, there are a vast array of hazards in the construction industry. Which is precisely why we at james & WARD take great care to provide comprehensive risk assessments. For further information on all the services we offer, take a look here

[1]What percentage of your life will you spend at work in a lifetime?, 2012. Available at:

[2] Ergonomics and Human Factors at Work, Health and Safety Executive. Available at:

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