Employees and Safe Computing in the Workplace
Information technology has advanced at a rapid pace which means many people are using computers daily. Those involved in computer related professions are exposed to computers for long periods. The repetitive actions computers need make these professions vulnerable to strain and visual fatigue. To avoid this fatigue, adopting a suitable working position is key. This consideration provides reduced occupational health risk and will also increase the work efficiency. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, employees with disorders like carpal tunnel need a median of 11 to 16 days away to recover. To ensure the safety of employees, and safe computing in the workplace, an employer should consider seat and keyboard posture.
Seat postures are tricky. Awkward seating position combined with long sitting periods increases the risk of injury. An awkward seating posture exposes a person to tightened muscles and an increased fatigue level. This extra tension increases the risk of injury and also reduces productivity and accuracy. One should always maintain a proper posture when working on a computer. This position includes having a 90 or more degrees angle at the hips and knees and resting the feet flat on either the floor or footrest. The angle between the hips and knees together with the employee seat posture should vary throughout. One should also keep the head and the neck in an upright position always even when on the phone. Keeping shoulders in a relaxed position, let elbows hang, and ensure 2-4 inches of clearance under the desk. An employee chair should have clearance behind the knees when seated against the backrest. The chair also should be adjustable to achieve the right and desired position always by allowing for tilts ranging from 95-110 degrees. Armrests should be adjustable to a height that restrains employees from raising or lowering their shoulders when resting their elbows. Allowing employees breaks between 45-60 minute working intervals gives them time to change postures. This break will reduce risks associated with the repetitive tasks like computer work. The breaks need not be rest breaks but could be the beginning of a new task involving a different posture and position. Place monitors approximately 18-24 inches in front of the employee, and the eye level should be below the top of the screen. The optimum viewing should be maintained between 15-30 degrees to avoid shoulder, neck and eye fatigue.
The placement of the keyboard should be in front of the employee. The position should give access to the keys even holding the elbows next to the body. Make sure to keep the forearms parallel to the keyboard. The keyboard also should be placed at the right height so that when keying in the shoulders are relaxed, and the elbows bent at 90. Make sure to be installing the keyboard below the work surface on a flat or downward slope. Never install the keyboard on an upward slope. Place the pointing device near the keyboard to ensure access without awkward overreaching. Where an employee uses paper documents, a document holder should be attached at the same height and distance as the monitor.
Many employees are in constant use of a computer. Great posture is important to ensure they do not experience any problems. One should also be always keen to notice and address any discomfort or pain in the body as soon as possible to avoid serious problems.
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