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RSI Software Creators Launch Ergonomics Software

Creators of Leading RSI Prevention Software, WorkPace, Launch ‘Wellnomics Risk Management’ Ergonomics Software

Scientifically validated ergonomic assessment software provides a new level of protection against computer-related injuries

Press release, 11 July 2006, Wellnomics, Christchurch, NZ: Wellnomics Ltd (formerly Niche Software), maker of the popular WorkPace Breaks & Exercises software, is launching a new ‘whole health’approach to workplace ergonomics with the introduction of Wellnomics Risk Management software. The company is launching the product this week at the 16th World Congress on Ergonomics - IEA 2006, held in Maastricht, The Netherlands between 10-14 July.

Wellnomics® is the world’s first and only scientifically validated ergonomics software for the prevention of computer related injuries in office workers. This new solution builds on the success of the company’s popular WorkPace Breaks & Exercises software, which is used by over 1 million office workers worldwide to prevent RSI, enhance productivity and create positive and sustainable behaviour change towards health and safety.

Wellnomics Director Dr Rob van Nobelen says: “Wellnomics Risk Management is not only the first product to cover all the known risk factors for RSI it is also the only one that is scientifically validated. It greatly reduces the workload for health and safety staff by using a new unique combination of direct measurement of computer use and user self-assessment.”

By allowing employees to take personal responsibility for their own health and safety, Wellnomics Risk Management helps streamline office ergonomics programs. The product covers posture and workstation assessment and also measures many other contributing factors to office injuries such as stress, existing symptom levels, levels of computer use, and work/break profiles. The result is accurate identification of high risk users within the organization, and a list of the top risk factors that need to be addressed to reduce risks to safe levels.

The advantages of adopting a Wellnomics work environment include:
- Reduced injury rates
- Increased productivity
- Reduced stress levels
- Reduced absenteeism
- Reduced spend on workstation assessments, and
- Ensured compliance with health and safety obligations.

Developed in conjunction with a team of international ergonomic experts at the TNO Quality of Life research institute in the Netherlands, Wellnomics Risk Management is based on a three year research project analyzing data from over 50 scientific papers and studies on office ergonomics.

Marjolein Douwes, TNO Lead Researcher and Project Manager for the Wellnomics development and validation projects, says: “Wellnomics doesn’t only look at the ergonomics of the workstation, it also considers the other risk factors known to cause RSI, such as psychosocial and stress related factors. Using extensive analysis of the scientific literature on the relationships between risk factors and the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders, we designed and tested a set of algorithms into Wellnomics that calculate the risk levels for each employee. Wellnomics Risk Management is a unique and extremely valuable tool that large organizations should consider implementing if they wish to achieve a healthy working environment for their computer users.”

With Wellnomics Risk Management organizations are able to:
- Directly measure computer use exposure and work/break profiles
- Identify the computer users at highest risk of RSI
- Be proactive and target limited resources to high risk users before injuries occur
- Identify the top risk factors that need to be addressed within the organization
- Provide reports to managers on risk levels within their departments, and
- Automatically record all remedial actions required and completed.

John van Hooft, Director of Wellnomics Netherlands distributor ErgoDirect, says: “Wellnomics will have a positive financial impact on organizations, as it helps to predict and prevent costly work related injuries by alerting the high risk users. This is particularly valuable in large organizations where Health & Safety resources are stretched, as it enables officers to take a proactive approach to health and safety by spending less time reacting to injuries and more time preventing them.”

“Wellnomics is the essential tool for companies whose goal is to become more healthy, vital, and profitable, with more productive office workers. With a good communications plan, management support and optimal functional configuration, ErgoDirect is convinced the ROI for Wellnomics will take less than 12-24 months from implementation. Not only will Wellnomics benefit the 4% of employees with reported work related injuries, it will also enable the remaining 96% of your employees with no reported injuries to become 10-30% more productive by achieving more healthy and vital working habits,” he says.

The software monitors computer use on each office worker’s PC then combines this data on actual computer use patterns with data from a set of online questionnaires covering posture and workstation ergonomics, symptoms and stress. A personalized risk report then provides feedback to each office worker, with a list of recommendations and advice on how to reduce their risks. Wellnomics empowers staff to take responsibility for their own health and safety, as it teaches them how to avoid injury by incorporating scientifically proven recommendations such as correct workstation adjustment, taking enough breaks, and improving posture.

About Wellnomics

Founded in 1997 by Directors Dr Robert van Nobelen and Dr Kevin Taylor, Wellnomics Ltd (formerly Niche Software), is a leader in the health and safety field with over 1 million software product licenses in use worldwide.

Wellnomics® provides an integrated suite of software tools to enable organizations to effectively manage the health and safety of large numbers of office workers. Our products are designed to prevent injuries, improve productivity, and minimize lost work time, and are underpinned by extensive research, led.

The Company has been recognized as a true New Zealand innovator, winning both the 2002 Hi Tech High Growth Company of the Year Award and a 2003 Trade New Zealand Export Award. Based in Christchurch, Wellnomics achieves 95% of its sales through exports and counts among its clients such Global 1000 organisations as Philips, Boeing, Chevron, Shell, BP, ING Bank, KPMG, PWC, Pacific Gas and Electric, Cap Gemini, Nike, and Eli Lilly.

Wellnomics invests 30% of revenue into ongoing research and development. The company has used this funding, along with a $350K Technology for Business Growth grant from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, to design a new Wellnomics product family. Several patents have been applied for on the basis of the new technology developed. For further information visit www.wellnomics.com.

About TNO
With 5500 employees TNO is Netherlands largest and Europe's second largest research institute for technological and strategic research and consultancy. One of the 5 core areas is ‘Quality of Life’ that covers amongst other, research and consultancy on ‘Work and Employment’. Within this work field TNO develops and applies innovative approaches to human resources, organization and technology to optimize health and productivity of employees. With the synergy that results from combining its crucial role as a national research institute and its engagement with the private sector, TNO Work and Employment occupies a unique, central position in the area of strategic and complex labor issues.

The team of experts at TNO who worked on the Wellnomics project is below.
Dr Paulien M Bongers: senior researcher, lead researcher, WMSD department
Drs Marjolein Douwes, senior researcher
Drs. Mathilde C. Miedema: senior researcher/consultant WMSD Department
Drs Kiem H. Thé is a Physical Movement Scientist
Dr. Birgitte M. Blatter, occupational epidemiologist
Drs Sjors J. Frielink, health scientist and expert in work and organization

About IEA 2006

The World Congress on Ergonomics is held only once every three years and is organized on behalf of the International Ergonomics Association in close collaboration with the ergonomics societies from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and the Federation of European Ergonomics Societies. The IEA is the world’s forum for ergonomics, representing 18,000 ergonomists in 43 ergonomics societies.

This year the congress will be held in Europe in Maastricht, the Netherlands for 5 days during July 10-14. Over 1,500 participants, 20 keynote speakers, 30 interactive workshops, and more than 1,000 papers will provide visiting ergonomists and users of ergonomics the most recent information in ergonomics throughout the 5 day event. Visit www.iea2006.org.

About ErgoDirect BV

ErgoDirect B.V. is an authoritative Dutch company specialising in solutions to support companies and organisations in implementing and managing their HR and working conditions policies themselves. These solutions incorporate analysis and management information software (including absenteeism management software), online RI&Es of computer work, services and ergonomically supportive hardware products that promote healthy office and computer work. The company’s unique ‘open’ HOW (Healthy Office Work) portal makes it possible for companies and organisations to apply an integrated approach to improving and expediting the implementation and management of their prevention, reintegration and absenteeism processes. ErgoDirect is the Netherlands’ leading provider of WorkPace RSI prevention software (more than 950.000 users). Visit www.ErgoDirect.nl.


ENDS

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