When most people think of workplace safety, they think of machine accidents, slips and falls, electrical problems, fires and similar mishaps. Today, we're here to talk about a different kind of hazard. I'd like to discuss how to work safety with your co mputer.
You may be thinking this isn't very big deal. If you are, think again, Did you know, for example, that back in 1976, there were only about 675,000 video display terminals used by businesses? Current estimates show over 50 million are being used. And wi th VDT's so prevalent in the workplace, so, too, are VDT-related hazards.
The most common types of injuries result not from the computers themselves, but how they are set up and used. Computer injuries are most often ergonomic injuries.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a term we're seeing more and more frequently. In basic language, ergonomics is the study of fitting the job to the worker rather than the worker to the job. For example, in relation to computer use, our goal is to adjust the workstation so that it causes as little strain as possible.
Applying Ergonomics To The Workstation
The usual computer setup consists of a display screen, a keyboard and a central processing unit. Safety concerns center around eyestrain and cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome.. Many computer operators also complain of pain in th e neck and back, headaches, general tension, dizziness and, occasionally, nausea.
Let's take a look at some things each of you can do to avoid these types of problems.
Eyestrain: Most computer-related eyestrain is caused by improper lighting. While you may not be able to do much about the overhead lighting, you can take these steps:
Cumulative Trauma Disorders: CTD's are another issue you may have been reading or hearing about lately. They are caused by repetitive motion. One of the most common CTDs among computer operators is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause tingling, numbness or pain in the hands and wrists.
Using a computer also requires sitting for long periods of time. This can cause back problems. Neck fatigue from looking back and forth from the source document to the display screen is also a concern. To improve the ergonomics of your work area:
While computer-related health problems are not life and death issues, they can be a real pain in the neck. If you can't seem to get comfortable at your workstation or if you are already experiencing pain or other symptoms, please let me know and we'll wor k on finding a solution.