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Computer Safey

Safe Computer Use

If you use a computer as part of your job either at work or at home, it is important to be aware of the correct and safe way to use it to avoid potential problems to your health and safety. Employers have certain responsibilities under health and safety regulations to ensure all employees are protected from risk.

More and more people use computers or display screen equipment as part of their everyday jobs. Thankfully most suffer no ill-effects. DSE’s don't give out harmful levels of radiation and rarely cause skin complaints.

If you use one and suffer ill-effects it may be because of the way you are using the computer. For example,

you might suffer from strain in the back of the hand due to excessive 'mouse' clicking, or stress or neckache if you use a VDU without a break for a long time. Problems like these can be avoided by a well-designed workstation and job.


Simple Tips for a Healthy and Happy Workplace:

If your employees use a computer to conduct their work, you can avoid injury or repetitive strain syndrome for your employees by informing then how to sit in the right position and arranging their desk correctly.

Support your back
Avoid back pain by adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported. A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. Get one that is easily adjustable so that you can change the height, back position and tilt. Have your knees level with your hips. You may need a footrest for this.

Adjust your chair
Adjust your chair height so that you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. This can help prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, so that the arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint.

Rest your feet on floor
Your feet should be flat on the floor. If they’re not, ask if you can have a footrest, which lets you rest your feet at a level that’s comfortable. Don't cross your legs, as this can cut off circulation and cause hip problems.

Place your screen at eye level
Your screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm's length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level. To achieve this you may need to get a stand for your monitor. If the screen is too high or too low, you'll have to bend your neck, which can be uncomfortable.

Using the keyboard
Place your keyboard in front of you when typing. Leave a gap of about four to six inches (100-150mm) at the front of the desk to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Your wrists should be straight when using a keyboard. Keep your elbows vertical under your shoulder and right by your side. Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys.

Keep your mouse close
Position and use the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad may help to keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending. If you are not using your keyboard, push it to one side if using the mouse a lot.

Avoid screen reflection
Your screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there’s glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of it to identify the cause. Position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If necessary, pull blinds across the windows and replace ceiling lighting with table lights. Adjusting the screen's brightness or contrast can make it much easier to use.

Working with spectacles
People with bifocal spectacles may find them less than ideal for computer work. It's important to be able to see the screen easily without having to raise or lower your head. If you can’t work comfortably with bifocals, you may need a different type of spectacles. Consult your optician if in doubt.

Make objects accessible
Position frequently used objects, such as your telephone or stapler, within easy reach. Avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting to reach things.

Avoid phone strain
If you spend a lot of time on the phone, try exchanging your handset for a headset. Repeatedly cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder can strain the muscles in your neck.

Always remember employers have a Health & Safety responsibility to conduct regular DSE (Display Screen Equipment) Risk assessments on employee’s workstations.  This will reduce the risk of health problems and absence from work.


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