Computer Workstation Safety – Its More Dangerous Than You Think

Computer workstation safety training has become an important part of every safety program.  Computer workstation injuries are on the rise and limit the productivity and health of every business.

Computers have revolutionized the work world. They save massive amounts of time and complete tasks in minutes that used to take weeks. However, the use of computers requires precision concentration and has generated a whole host of work related injuries. Our eyes, hands, wrists and fingers are used for long periods of time with no interruptions. As a result, these areas can be susceptible to stress, strain and pain. However, we can learn how to adjust our body positions and work spaces to make big differences in our comfort and productivity.

An organized workspace is generally considered a safe workspace. How we organize our supplies and materials can have a big effect on our health. Try to keep all of your materials within 14 to 18 inches and in front of you. If they are any farther than this, it can cause unnecessary stretching that stresses muscles and joints. Also, try to keep the workspace clear around your feet. Clutter underfoot can inhibit freedom of movement and cause unnatural lower back positions and stop blood flow to the feet. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your lower back firmly supported.

The position of your body in relation to your computer is one of the most important aspects of workstation safety. Nothing is more important than maintaining the neutral positions that relieve stress on your body. Having a chair that allows for a stress free posture is the first step. Make sure your chair is set so that your feet can be firmly planted on the ground. If they hang it will cause undue stress on the lower back. Keep your thighs at a right angle to your shins and your elbows at a right angle to your upper arms. When you are seated keep your back as straight as possible and your lower back fully supported.

Next is the position of your keyboard. Your fingers should easily be able to reach a, s d and f from the left and j, k, l and semi-colon from the right. Remember to keep your wrists flat, not bent. This creates the neutral position that helps avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Place the computer monitor 16 to 27 inches away from your eyes and try to look down at the screen from a slight angle – approximately 15 degrees. Try to keep documents about the same distance away as your computer screen to avoid unwanted twisting of the neck and to relieve eyestrain.

Eyestrain is also called CVS “Computer Vision Syndrome”. To avoid eye strain keep lighting levels from being to dark or too bright, make sure lighting is even through the workspace and place your monitor at a right angle from the window to avoid glare. Glare can also be caused by: too much lighting, dry eyes from not enough blinking and a dirty monitor, so avoid these conditions as well. Also, regularly scheduled eye checks will determine if computer/reading glasses are needed.

Lastly, exercise is extremely important. Stretch by slowly turning the neck from side to side, stretching the muscles in the hands and wrists, find lower back stretching exercises to help relieve stress in the lumbar region and make sure that you take regular breaks to walk around the office.

Computer workstation safety is easy when you adhere to the following steps – keep your workspace organized, maintain neutral positions, follow the steps to avoid eyestrain, exercise, eat right and get plenty of sleep. Computer workstation injuries are on the rise but they can be avoided. Follow the steps and keep your health and productivity at its highest level.

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Computer Workstation, Workstation Safety, Lower Back, Make Sure, Right Angle