Computers are becoming increasingly more common in the workplace.Although there are many benefits with computer usage, there are also health issuesthat can arise with the constant use. Workers need adopt good ergonomic practicesin the workplace to reduce injury from computer use. Ergonomics is the appliedpractice to minimize injury and improve productivity in the workplace. There are many things a computer user should do to prevent health problemsfrom computer usage. One of the most common problems are musculoskeletal,once the computer user starts to feel any pain or discomfort he/she should act on it.It is important to take short breaks during computer use. That short break could bein a form of bathroom break or a snack break. It is recommended that computerusers should take a break every thirty minutes to an hour. The chair should be adjustable so that the user can place can feet firmlyagainst the floor and back should be straight. Poor chair adjustment can cause backand neck pains. Both feet should be comfortable on the floor in front of you or onthe foot rest. The chair should be one that will allow the user to keep his or hernatural spine curvature while seated. It is essential to position the computer monitor at eye level to minimize eyeand neck strain. No computer user should have to tilt her head to view a computermonitor. It is recommended that the computer should be an arm’s length from theuser. The monitor resolution may be too bright or too dim for the computer use;this can be problematic and cause eye strain. Staff members should always adjustthe monitor resolution before using it especially if it used by multiple persons. If auser is having difficult reading the characters on the monitor this is a clearindication that the monitor settings should be adjusted or the user needs to correcthis or her vision. Person who frequently read from papers and books should investin a document holder; it should be sturdy and positioned next to the monitor. Thiswill greatly decrease the chances of developing musculoskeletal problems. The keyboard should also be positioned properly; it should be at low heightat the same level with the elbows. The keyboard should be flat and the wristrelatively straight. One indicator that the keyboard is positioned properly is whenthe user’s arms are resting comfortably at his or her arms.
Microsoft has invented a user friendly keyboard that has shown to reducepain in the hand and wrist. It is essential to identify the best user friendly mouse,keyboards etc to ensure staff safety and optimal productivity. Having to continuously reach for the mouse can cause shoulder pain. Themouse should be of easy reach from the keyboard. There should be plenty of roomto manoeuvre the mouse. Not everyone can tolerate using a mouse therefore onecan try using a trackball. It is important that computer users learn how to makemouse adjustments for themselves, as people who set up the computers or otherusers of shared computers may have different settings for themselves. The Usershould alternate hands with which you operate the pointer/mouse to reduce muscleoveruse. Using keyboard short cuts can significantly reduce extended use of thehand muscles. It is recommended that the entire arm be moved instead of just thewrist when using the mouse. When setting a computer area or work area all items that are used frequentlyshould be within reach. These items include scanners, printers and phones. Thiswill eliminate constantly stretching for these items and thus reduces the risk ofdeveloping musculoskeletal problems. Persons tend to slouch while seated at the computer; this can cause badposture and back problems. When one is slouched their bones are not alignedproperly. Muscles Joints and tendons are under strain. It is important to seatupright while at the computer to maintain good posture. Another problem health problem of prolonged computer use is Eye strain.Blinking regularly while on the computer minimizes eye strain. The computer’sbright light can cause the eyes to burn and feel dry. By blinking, the eye musclesare being used and the tears lubricate the eyes. Computer users need to ensure that the work station has proper lighting.Bright lights in the work area can cause discomfort glare on the computer screen.An acceptable amount of lighting means good computer screen visibility andminimal glare and reflections from the computer monitor. There should be a goodbalance of lighting for the user to perform his or her task.
Mixing task can help prevent muscle over use. Typing or reading for longperiods without interruptions can be problematic. Computer users can organize thework in a way to alternate task. For instance a user may type for twenty minutesand then shift to making call. There are series of health problems that can arise with improper computeruse, these include Carpal tunnel syndrome, Computer Vision Syndrome, tendonitis. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve is under pressurefrom constant use it is characterized by pain and tingling in the wrist and hand.Prolong use of the keyboard/mouse without rest periods can cause Carpel tunnelSyndrome. Taking frequent rest breaks (20 minutes) and stretching techniques arethe recommended treatment for Carpal Tunnel syndrome. The use of wrist splintshas shown to stabilize the wrist during computer use. Rotating the wrist andflexing it is a good form of exercise. One who has already developed the problemmay have to receive analgesia and physical therapy. Computer Vision syndrome is the most common problem for impropercomputer use. It is cause by long periods of uninterrupted focusing on thecomputer screen. Some of the symptoms include eye dryness, eye redness, tearyeyes and headaches. This can be alleviated by blinking frequently during computeruse, eye rest and ensuring that one’s vision is corrected. Using eye lubricant canalso alleviate eye dryness. Tendonitis is another problem that can occur from poor computer use.Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons that can be resulted from the tendonsbeing overused. As mentioned before good posturing and frequent breaks duringcomputer use will minimize the risk of developing Tendonitis. Back pain is contributed from poor posture when seated at the desk. It mayresult from seating at the desk for long periods. Taking short breaks and the use orergonomic chairs can reduce the chances of getting back pains. Generally Practicing good Computer Ergonomics will reduce the risks ofdeveloping health problems mentioned. In cases where the problem exist personsmay be physical therapy, cold /warm compress, analgesia and a course onComputer Ergonomics.
Refences: 1. Ellahi, A., Khalil, M.S., & Akram, S. (2011). Computer Users at Risk: Health disorders associated with prolong computer use. Journal of Business Management and Economics. Retrieved from: http://www.e3journals.org/cms/articles/1330776576_Abida%20et%20al.pdf 2. Mvangi, V. P., Mcharo, J., Mmbuji, M. E., Mgonja, L.E, & Kitua, A. Y. (2009). Health Hazards related to Computer use: Experience of the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania. International Journal of Human and Social Sciences 4:1. Retrieved from: http://www.waset.org/journals/ijhss/v4/v4-1-10.pdf 3. University of California. Ergonomics(2010). Retrieved from: http://ergo.berkeley.edu/services/computer_use.php