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White Collars' Health Detrimental to PC Work Related Ailments

Posted by Robert O'Neill on May 2, 2013 1:45:54 AM
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1_whote collar computerRecently published health journals provide organisations with health insights on how to protect workforce from health related risks arising from prolonged computer use.

Posture Issues

Your posture while working could have significant health effect according to Australian medical researchers. The time that you spent while holding your hands over the keyboard, but without typing, can post a health problem. ‘We refer to this position as the “action ready” posture when the forearm(s) is in full probation over the keyboard or mouse causing muscle activation of the forearm extensor muscles,’ the researchers wrote.

The Australian medical researcher further explained: ‘This may lead to the development of painful trigger points in the forearm extensor muscles, a common area of complaints by computer users. Activities such as reading, talking, thinking, etc. while using the computer are frequently accompanied by this “action ready” posture.’

Other risks caused by this wrong posture include likelihood of injuries to the neck and shoulder area as a result of muscle overuse. It is because neck and shoulder muscles are put into activity when the use of PC mouse is with the arm and extended away from the body. This occurs when the monitor is very far thus pushing the chin juts forward or when the keyboard is too high while the shoulders are held at hiked positions. Keeping this posture proved detrimental to the upper extremities of the body (with or without keystrokes and mouse clicks).

To counter this problem, there are some suggestions to reduce the risk of muscle and joint problems including:

  • Utilise an adjustable desk designed with computers; place the monitor so that it is either at eye level or slightly lower.
  • Place your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to rest comfortably at your side. Forearms must be parallel with the floor and level with your keyboard.
  • Make some adjustments to your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor.
  • A footstool is very useful if your feet do not rest on the floor when the chair is adjusted for good arm position.
  • It's the modern age! So sit on an ergonomic chair. It will aid your spine to naturally hold its curve while sitting.
  • Switch to an ergonomic keyboard to maintain your hands and wrists at a more natural holding position.
  • Lastly, don't forget to take frequent short breaks or perhaps go for a walk or perform stretching exercises at your desk. Stand often if necessary.

Eye Strain

Our eyes are structurally endowed to look at objects further than six metres away. So any work performed at close proximity puts extra pressure on eye muscles. Fatigue can result if you focus your gaze at the same distance point for long periods.

The illumination coming off from the PC monitor causes eye fatigue. Users of PCs may experience symptoms like blurriness and acute inability to focus on faraway objects. Not to mention headaches.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of eyestrain:

  • Ensure your primary light source is not shining directly into your face or the monitor.
  • Tilt the PC monitor, in such a way that it slightly eliminates reflections or glare.
  • Check that your PC screen is not too close to your face.
  • Place the monitor so that it is either at eye level or slightly lower.
  • Reduce the contrast and brightness of your monitor by adjusting the brightness controls.
  • Always look away from the screen and gaze on faraway objects.
  • Make it a habit to have eye examinations to check that blurring, headaches and other associated problems are not caused by any underlying ailments.

Topics: Ergonomics, Blog