December 8, 2009
AN OPEN QUESTION FOR OSHA / OH&S ATTORNEYS:
Question: What is the degree of risk of an employer being sued if its employee gets debilitating headaches using glossy Apple Mac computers?
Can an employer get sued if an employee gets debilitating eyestrain and headaches from being compelled to use Apple Macintosh computers that only come with glossy screens (no matte option).
European regulation about screens used for computer workstations, states: “Workstations shall be so designed that … no direct glare and, as far as possible, no reflections on the screen.”
Queensland University warned their employees about risk of high gloss Apple Mac screens:
If sued, surely employers would struggle to claim they did not know that glossy Mac screens produce eyestrain and headaches, at least in some employees. Not long ago, it was considered good employer practice to get anti-glare screens for their employees. How, then, does that compare with employers who compel employees to use ultra-glossy Apple Mac screens for work?
See anecdotes on this website where numerous Apple Mac users tell stories of suffering from eyestrain and headaches as a direct result of the glossy screens found on current Apple Mac computers – although such injuries may take years to become debilitating.
For an employer, even if the risk is small, can it be said there is zero risk of being sued? If so, should employers think twice about getting glossy-screen Macs for their employees to use?
Of course, many users love glossy screens – but many do not because of eyestrain. For an employer to get sued, it does not take 100% of its employees to get injured. It only takes a few employees to get seriously injured. Hence, I am not getting into the debate of glossy vs. matte preference. Rather, I am asking a focused question: for those employees who get eye injury from long-term use of glossy Mac computers, can they sue their employers?
Is there any liability for Apple in refusing to offer matte screens on their desktop Mac computers?
EDITOR’S NOTE: For comments on this page, please limit comments to the subject – Can Apple Be Sued? Any comments that are off topic will be transferred by the editor to the main