Magazine article Management Services

HSE Research into Call Centres

Magazine article Management Services

HSE Research into Call Centres

Article excerpt

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced recently it is to research working practices in call centres.

It is estimated that between 1-1.7% of the total United Kingdom workforce is employed in call centres. This is more than the combined workforce of coal mining, steel and vehicle production, and it is predicted that this number will increase to just over 2% in the next two to three years.

The study will be carried out by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), which is an agency of HSE. The research will look at a broad range of call centres which differ in their location, sector type, size and maturity. The researchers will measure potential physical and psychological health risks associated with the working practices employed and will explore the measures to be taken which may reduce risks.

The research will start by the end of this year. The first phase will concentrate on developing a questionnaire which will be used to assess potential health risks. Phase two will involve using the questionnaire during interviews with call handlers, team leaders, middle and senior management, union representatives and occupational health professionals. The research will also involve reviewing the application of existing guidance and regulations, such as the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, to see if guidance can be produced specifically aimed at call centres.

The questionnaire will cover Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments, working environments, requirements for work stations, the daily work routine of call handlers, training, organisational working practices, shifts and health issues such as stress, noise levels, voice loss and musculoskeletal disorders (such as back problems and other aches and pains in the joints and muscles). …

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