Siebel system linked to eyesight risks

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Siebel system linked to eyesight risks

ATO system rates below eyesight safety standards.

An independent report commissioned by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has found that its Siebel-based CRM (sales) system could cause damage to user's eyesight.

The report, prepared by independent optometry expert Jennifer Long Visual Ergonomics in January this year, was commissioned by the ATO in response to pressure from the CPSU (Community and Public Sector Union).

According to the union, ATO staff have been raising health and safety concerns about the ATO's Customer Relationship Management system since it was installed by Oracle subsidiary Siebel in 2005.

The union claims the ATO yielded to pressure to release the report after the CPSU commenced proceedings to obtain it under FOI (Freedom of Information) legislation.

The report found that on a large proportion of the workstations at the ATO, the font size of the majority of the text displayed on the Siebel system was between 2 and 2.5mm, short of the minimum recommended size of 3mm as stated by both the ATO's own Graphical User Interface standards and the Australian standard.

The report recommends the ATO allow regular rest breaks for users of the system and provide regular eye examinations for users over the age of 40.

The ATO plans to persist with the system but to manipulate it in such a way that makes the text appear at least 3mm. One method is to reduce the resolution, but while this allows the user to view the text in a larger scale, it also renders it more difficult to read. 

"The ATO action plan is to change the way we work, not to fix the system," a CPSU spokesperson stated. "This is not good enough.

"The CPSU will continue to take action until [the] Siebel [system] is able to meet required standards." 

The Australian Tax Office has been contacted for further comment.

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