Essential Ergonomics for Computer Engineers Name : Venkatesan .M.C Reg no : 10109205045 B. Tech IT, III yr, Aalim Muhammed Salegh College of Engineering.
Introduction:Ergonomics is the scientific study of human work conditions, especially theinteraction between man and machine. Ergonomics is a term taken from theGreek work "ergon," meaning work, and "nomos," meaning natural laws. Thegoal of ergonomics is to make work more comfortable and to improve bothhealth and productivity. It is an interdisciplinary science of designing the job,products, and place to fit the worker. Psychology, industrial engineering,computer science, biomechanics, and safety engineering all play a role inergonomics.The objectives of Ergonomics are shared by Engineering Psychology, which areto optimize the effectiveness and efficiency with which human activities areconducted as well as to improve the general quality of life through "increasedsafety, reduced fatigue and stress, increased comfort and satisfaction.".Biometrics and Anthropometrics play a key role in this use of the wordErgonomics. Engineering Psychology often has a specialty dealing withWorkplace or Occupational Ergonomics. Most people often think that computer professionals are less prone tohealth disease since they are bound to their chairs, but its wrong. In reality,computer professionals are exposed to elevated health hazards. Computerprofessionals need to sit in front of their computers for long time to gain abetter knowledge about them and to use it productively. The computerengineers especially need to master their machine, on the other hand theircounterpart the machine itself is vulnerable to failure and requires delicateimplementation and maintenance routines. If you dont pay attention to ergonomics, the activities you do may, overtime, lead to a musculoskeletal disorder. This group of physical problemsusually affects soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and nerves) and joints. AlthoughMSDs most frequently affect the back and wrists, your whole body is actuallyat risk. MSDs can damage fingers, elbows, and shoulders, as well as the neckand arms, and even the legs. Left untreated, an MSD may limit your range ofmotion or reduce your ability to grip objects.
Repetitive Strain Injury :Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is the general word that is used to describe theprolonged pain experienced in shoulders or hands or neck or arms. RepetitiveStrain Injury is the common word used for referring the types of soft tissueinjuries like the nerve spasms, trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.Muscle Tension + Incorrect Posture + Repetitive Motion + Over-Use = RSI The term Repetitive Strain Injury is generally used to describe the overusedsyndrome associated with particular repetitive activity. They are generallycaused by the work-associated activities such as using computer keyboards andmouse. The term includes a group of disorders that most commonly develop inworkers using excessive and repetitive motions of the head and neck extremity. RSI occurs when the movable parts of the limbs are injured. RepetitiveStrain Injury usually caused due to repetitive tasks, incorrect posture, stress andbad ergonomics. Repetitive Strain Injury generally causes numbness, tingling,weakness, stiffing, and swelling and even nerve damage. The chief complaint isthe constant pain in the upper limbs, neck, shoulder and back. The main cause of this main are the repetitive activities, forceful activitiesof arms and hand and awkward postures. The other causes of Repetitive StrainInjuries are sitting in a fixed posture and poor working ergonomics. The Repetitive Stress Injury generally effects the group of workers whogenerally use excessive and repetitive motion of the neck and head are at highrisk. The work pattern of computer professionals carries a lot of orthopedicdisorders. For the people who work on computer for more than few hours a day,who use musical instruments and who work in production line are at risk ofRepetitive Strain Injury. The Repetitive Stress Injury is not a life threatening injury for it can causepain and disability. The Repetitive Strain Injury is the most worse as it may leadto permanent incapacity. As Repetitive Strain Injury recovery is being a slowprocess, it is better to take treatment at early stage itself.Repetitive Strain Injury -Symptoms: 1. The users experience constant pain in the hands, elbows, shoulders, neck, and the back. Other symptoms of Repetitive Stain Injury are cramps, tingling, and numbness in the hands. The hand movements of the user
may become clumsy and the person may find it difficult even to fasten buttons. 2. Another variant of Repetitive Strain Injury is that, it may produce painful symptoms in the upper limbs, but the site may be difficult to locate. 3. The common diagnoses seen in RSI are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tenosynovitis, Bursitis, White Limb, and Shoulder pain. A major cause is due to long unbroken periods of work. Ergonomics or the lack of it plays a very important role. Lack of information about the condition leads to neglect by the concerned individuals.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a compression of the median nerve in the wrist. Symptoms include pain and numbness in the hand (especially at night), clumsiness, paresthesia (pins and needles), and trophic changes (such as muscle wasting). In a true CTS, these are felt where the median nerve goes: the palm side of the index and middle fingers and part of the thumb and ring finger. Conservative treatment without surgical intervention will usually give relief, especially if done early after onset. Similar symptoms can also be due to nerve compression in the neck, shoulder or arm from such things as tight neck or shoulder muscles (ie: thoracic outlet syndrome or pectoral muscle contracture) or poor neck mechanics to name a few. These other problems are often mis-diagnosed as CTS. To help see if you have a true carpal tunnel syndrome or not, use Phalens test.
Phalens Test Place the backs of both of your hands together and hold the wrists in forced flexion for a full minute. (Stop at once if sharp pain occurs) . If this produces numbness or "pins and needles" along the thumb side half of the hand, you most likely have Median nerve entrapment (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). Examination by a health care professional familiar with these conditions is the way to be sure of the diagnosis and get proper treatment. Treatment Effective conservative treatment of CTS should include:• Chiropractic manipulation of the wrist, forearm and hand• Ice massage (10 to 12 minutes) several times a day• minimizing any irritating activities• wrist strengthening exercises• wrist stretching exercises• possible use of wrist brace or splint while sleeping• applying sound ergonomic principles
Eyestrain: Eyestrain is a symptom that manifests when we exploit our eyes over anextended period of time, through activities such as reading or viewing anelectronically-lit screen.It includes the following • Pain, dryness or redness around the eyes • Fatigue • Sensitivity to light • Headache • Difficulty in performing visual tasks • Blurred vision, Double visionWork in spurts: The computer is built for nonstop work — but we aren’t a machine. Wehave to take regular breaks to recharge, and so do our eyes. The twenty-twentyrule is easy to remember: every twenty minutes take a twenty sec break. That ispull out the eyes away from the computer and stare off into space or an objectthat’s approximately 20 feet away from you. In an office, take frequent but brieftrips to the water water cooler or restroom to give our eyes a break. In restroom,don’t look directly at the fluorescent lights overhead because it will only causemore strain.Enlarge text: Our eyes have to strain to read small text, so keep text large to give youreyes a break. Always magnify to a size that feels comfortable. Print out largedocuments and read it at your own pace and in the right lighting.Re-position your monitor: When we stare at computer monitor, we naturally blink less often. So oureyes don’t get naturally lubricated as often. This leads to eye dryness andredness. To reduce this effect, position the monitor below eye-level. By this,eyes won’t have to strain in order to see. Even if our monitor settings are setfor optimal usage, light from the surrounding can irritate the eyes. Considerusing an anti-glare screen if necessary. And position desk lights at an anglefrom behind.
Eyes wide shut. Our best advice to people who work at computers all day is to close youreyes often--that is, blink a lot! Dry eyes can make you feel tired, and blinkingkeeps them lubricated and moist. If blinking alone doesnt help, use eye dropsfor additional moisture.Relax: Work is important, but you need to be relaxed enough so that tension andstress don’t get in the way. Take frequent short breaks during the day, andlonger breaks one to two times a day so that you can get your mind off work.Walks are good because give you exercise, fresh air, and help you look off intofarther distances.At your desk you can do neck rolls, shoulder shrugs and armswings to stretch out your neck and shoulders. Rub your temples to release anyhead tension. Give your eyes periods of darkness for rest, by closing your eyesor cupping your palms over your eyes (preferably in a quiet environment).
Neck and shoulder basics • Glare spots reflected off the screen or direct light shining in your eyes can cause you to bend or lean in weird positions. This increases neck tension. • If your documents are flat on the desk and to the side of the keyboard you are bending and twisting the neck. Think drafting table; place your documents up on an angle to straighten the neck, place them near the monitor to limit twisting. • Reaching to the mouse, keyboard, or other supplies can cause strain. Working with the arm extended and unsupported can increases shoulder
strain as much as 7 to 10 times. Place frequently-used items closer or find a place to support the arm. • If your Keyboard is too high you are probably working with tense shrugged shoulders. We recommend placing the keyboard relatively low, near your resting elbow height. • Elbows winged out to the side to reach for the arm rests? This can cause considerable strain to the shoulder muscles. See if the armrests can be adjusted in closer, or try working without using the armrests. Moving the arm out to use the mouse can over-work the small rotator cuff muscle in the upper shoulder blade. Consider a narrower keyboard or keyboard without a number pad to allow closer mouse placement, or a central pointing device.Some Posture Guidelines • Let your shoulders relax. • Let your elbows swing free. • Keep your wrists straight. • Pull your chin in to look down - dont flop your head forward. • Keep the hollow in the base of your spine. • Try leaning back in the chair. • Dont slouch or slump forward. • Alter your posture from time to time. • Every 20 minutes, get up and bend your spine backward. • For reducing inflammation and pain: Try ice or a package of frozen vegetables (like peas) on the affected area. • Thighs and feet should rest parallel to the floor. If you cant adjust your seat, use a special footrest with a nonslip surface. And clean up that mess: Make sure your have room under your desk to stretch your legs.