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Work Injury Prevention

The age of computers has brought about a new potential risk to our physical health. Computer workstations that are not properly laid-out can contribute to a variety of health problems including injury to the back and spine and pain syndromes due to repetitive stress.

Magee urges all computer users to make sure their workstations are "posture friendly". These guidelines offer suggestions to make your work area safer and reduce your risk of injury.

Risk Factors:
There are a number of factors which may increase your risk of a work related injury. This list outlines several of the most common problem areas. Be aware of these dangers and if necessary, use these guidelines to make adjustments to your work environment or work habits.

Static posture-- sitting in the same position for long periods exhausts the body
Forceful exertions (i.e.-- striking the keys too hard) can cause injury to muscles

Repetition with little or no rest causes smaller muscles to become overworked

Environmental Conditions:

  • Cold and vibrations may lead to decreased circulation to muscles and tendons
  • Improper ventilation may cause poor air quality and exposure to air-borne toxins
  • Stressful job conditions can lead to built up tension, especially in the neck and shoulders
  • Magee Rehabilitation offers ergonomic assessment for work stations as part of its Work Fitness program

Work Station:

  • Your workstation should be adjustable
  • Place frequently used materials within easy reaching distance on your desk
  • Take time out for relaxation
  • Alternate job tasks to avoid muscle overuse
  • Avoid holding the telephone between the neck and shoulders. If your job involves extensive telephone use, try using a head set.

Chair:

  • Adjust your chair to a height that positions your knees and hips at right angles
  • Use a chair that is lightly padded to evenly distribute the weight of your body. If necessary, use a cushion.
  • Use a swivel chair that allows for better position and easy retrieval of items
  • Recline your chair back to an angle of 10-15 degrees. The back should be contoured to fit your body. The seat should be adjustable and large enough to allow movement
  • Be sure your feet rest comfortably on the floor or on a foot rest

Monitor:

  • Avoid glare by placing your monitor perpendicular to windows and reducing overhead lighting
  • Place your monitor at eye level and at an arm's length distance
  • Use a copy holder to avoid neck strain

Keyboard:

  • Position your keyboard so that it is just below the hands when your elbows are at a 90 degree angle
  • Keep the keyboard flat. This reduces strain to the wrist muscles
  • Use a light touch when striking the keys