[Excerpt] Portable computing and communication devices are widely used by workers from different occupations and their use is steadily increasing.
The risks associated with working with portable devices and systems, for which at present no guidelines exist, differ considerably from those associated with working with visual display units at workstations. The latter are covered by the European VDU Directive and governed by a host of guidelines and recommendations within the EU Member States.
In the light of the above, the study addresses the following issues:
· To what extent are mobile communication devices used by the working population – how is such use growing in absolute terms and which types of workers are using them?
· How is the technology behind these devices – hardware and telecommunications – developing, and how is the technology likely to evolve in the future?
· Description of the possible hazards arising from the use of portable computing and communication devices and the risks to workers in terms of ill health and accidents. We also consider how the nature and extent of these risks will change in the future in the light of likely developments in technology and its use.
· The implications of the use and development of mobile communication and computing devices for occupational health and safety management and for legislation and implementation in the context of European law concerning health and safety at work.
· The scope is limited to work carried out in locations and environments that are impossible or difficult for the employer to control.