Companies warned after RSI payout over mouse use

Health and safety experts say a successful RSI claim by a former Guardian freelancer should be a 'wake-up call' for employers
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The Guardian newspaper has paid out £37,500 to settle a repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim made a former Guardian freelancer.

The Guardian's insurers paid out the sum last month to Andrea Osbourne, a freelance sub-editor, who developed RSI after being refused physiotherapy by the Guardian's human resources department, according to Osbourne's legal representatives.

Legal experts at Pinsent Masons solicitors described the case as "a wake-up call" for employers this week.

"Regulations require employers to assess all workstations for health and safety risks," said Simon Joyston-Bechal, a partner and health and safety expert at Pinsent Masons. "Many find this difficult to achieve for all workers. But some don't even try."

"Employers are asking for trouble if they turn a blind eye," Joyston-Bechal warned.

Osbourne claimed she had developed RSI predominantly through using a mouse while at work.

"The Guardian showed absolutely no sympathy," Osbourne told Guardian Unlimited, where she had spent most of her two years at The Guardian.

"Because I was employed as a casual and didn't have a permanent contract, they refused my requests for physiotherapy and made no attempt to find a way for me to work, which would have reduced the repetitive strain in my elbow," Osbourne added.

The Guardian denied responsibility for Osbourne's condition.

"We completely refute the picture painted by Andrea Osbourne in her statement and we are very disappointed by her comments," The Guardian said in a statement. "This payment has been made by Guardian Newspapers Ltd's insurers with no admission of liability."

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