Health and safety whilst using a computer
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Health and safety whilst using a computer

In our daily lives, we do a lot of activities and tasks to earn a livelihood and stay in our best form. While performing these activities and tasks, there are some unintentional mistakes that we make and which can prove to be very harmful and life-threatening in the long run. Daily usage of computers is one of them.

Therefore, this article focused on health and safety whilst using a computer and will help you identify the mistakes that you make and how to reform them effectively.

What is the correlation between health and safety whilst using a computer?

In our modern society, most of the world’s population uses a computer daily. One of the main reasons for this increased usage is due to internet browsing. Data collected from Internet World Stats indicates that there are 5,053,911,722 internet users worldwide as of December 2020. This figure gives us a rough estimation of why computer usage is increasing day by day as well. 

 

However, working on a computer can cause a series of health disorders. One of the major concerns is incorrect body posture since it is the root cause of several musculoskeletal problems in both men and women. It arises due to prolonged usage of a computer at work, home or any other place. Apart from that, using a computer also leaves an adverse effect on our eyesight, which can cause a series of fatal diseases in our body in the long run if not treated or controlled. 

 

Even though people use the computer for various reasons, one of the critical reasons for prolonged computer usage occurs due to work-related matters. Such work-related health and safety issues regarding using a computer need to be addressed and fixed.

This is the Workplace Safety Planning

Learn strategies for promoting awareness and cooperation amongst staff and gain the tools to create and implement an effective and sustainable work health and safety framework in your workplace

This is the heWorkplace Safety Planning Courseading

Learn strategies for promoting awareness and cooperation amongst staff and gain the tools to create and implement an effective and sustainable work health and safety framework in your workplace

What are the major Computer-related health issues?

Around 50% of the global market jobs require using a computer for more than 5 hours per day. How many hours do you spend in front of a computer screen per day? If the answer is more than 5 hours per day, you might likely have some of the issues that will be discussed further in this article.

Problems relating to eye-sight

Eye-sight problems arise due to computer screens and monitors. While working, your eyeballs are moving back and forth all the time as you read or type something. If you notice, when you’re at work, it is improbable for you to sit back and relax between different tasks.

Undoubtedly, computers have made our lives a lot easier for both work and academic purposes. There are health and safety concerns whilst using a computer, but we can minimise these concerns with proper precautions and safety measures since “ Prevention is better than cure”. Thus, if one follows all disease preventive measures, every individual would live a very healthy lifestyle.

Since your eyes constantly react to new images on the screen, different light intensities and repositioning focus from one object to another, your eye muscles are getting no rest.  Another interesting observation is that you tend to blink significantly less while working on a project at work or just meeting deadlines. People unintentionally do this act since a high level of concentration is expected from you from your workplace. When you blink less, your eyes dry out, which blurs your vision frequently.

You will not lose your eyesight because of the issues discussed above, but your vision does get weaker as you age.  So,  when you reach your 40s, it gets harder to see things from a close-up view, resulting in a disease known as Presbyopia or other eyesight related disorders.

Sleeping disorders

Computer screens give off artificial lightning, which deceits our brain to suppress its release of a chemical called Melatonin. When melatonin levels decrease in our blood cells, we have difficulties in our sleeping patterns.

Sleeping disorders

The condition might deteriorate in the long run by developing other diseases such as Insomnia  (trouble falling asleep).  Less sleep would cause fatigue and tiredness in our body during the day, which becomes a considerable obstruction to concentrate on work and other activities.

Headaches

Headache

It is a pervasive problem amongst everyone. It has several causes. One of them is because of workload and stress. However, headache is related to neck pain and vision difficulties.  It occurs due to increased muscle tension in the neck area and eyesight problems arising from pupil movements. 

Musculoskeletal problems

What are musculoskeletal problems?  The straightforward definition is injuries and abnormalities that affect our musculoskeletal system (ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc.).  Around 25% of people have been affected by this disease globally, and most of them are from computer usage for academic or work purposes. 

Musculoskeletal problems

Some of the most common musculoskeletal problems due to computer usage are describer in the following section:

Back pain

It is a prevalent type of health issue arising from using a computer, which results from a prolonged sitting duration.  Prolonged sitting causes static muscle contraction, increased pressure on the intervertebral discs and rigidity on muscles and ligaments. It can happen to anyone from 12-65 years of age.  Visiting a chiropractor or a physiotherapist near you might give some temporary relief. The most effective cure would be through specific exercises that would help your muscle tissues relax.

Neck and shoulder pain

Neck and shoulder pain is widespread among regular computer users. It would surprise you that neck pain ranks 4th in the foremost causes of disability worldwide. While using a computer, most of the below don’t have the screen at their eye level. Therefore, you tend to tilt your head forward and look down by using the support of your neck.

Have you ever wondered how much does your head weigh? Research conducted by Dr Kenneth Hansraj On average, the human head only weighs 10 to 12 lbs. But, this dramatically rises when you tilt your head forward. At a 15-degree angle, weight increases to 27 lbs and at 30 degrees, it is 40 lbs. Therefore, the more the tip of your head tilts, the weight of your head increases even more. These measurements indicate that it puts massive pressure on your neck, ultimately one of the root causes of neck pain.

Shoulder pain arises from prolonged usage of outstretched arms while using a mouse or typing on your computer. This prolonged stretch contracts your shoulder muscle; this makes your muscles stiff after a certain period, resulting in constant pain. However, there is a specific medical terminology for this which is Mouse Shoulder

Neck and shoulder pain are responsible for stiffness around the neck and shoulder area, fatigue, and constant pain.

Strain in legs and feet

This problem also arises due to wrong sitting postures. While using a computer, most people tend to bend their legs and feet instead of stretching them and staying in the same position for a long time while working. This practice should be avoided as it puts too much pressure on your thighs and leg muscles.

Safety measures in the workplace

Every workplace has its hazards, depending on your role. For most white-collar jobs worldwide, computers occupy most of our work duration at home or the office. Even though students also use computers for academic purposes, workers/employees only do prolonged usage in a corporate setting. Therefore, it makes them more vulnerable to computer-related health and safety concerns, as mentioned previously.

A healthy workplace

That is why employers should consider specific ways to maintain a safe and hygienic work station for all employees. They can do this by giving employees extra responsibilities or hiring contractors who have completed a Workplace Safety Training Course. According to the two UK health and safety standards in the workplace:  Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, these people get trained in setting up specific safety measures. These employees also set up specific safety guidelines and practices that everyone needs to follow.

They follow particular measures, such as:

  • Placing sanitisers at every workstation.
  • Providing adjustable chairs and tiltable screens.
  • Taking regular feedback from all employees.
  • Noting down all the difficulties faced by other employees and acting upon them.
  • Doing weekly visits and checks.
  • Installing suitable lighting and placing lamps in desks (if required).
  • Providing foot support at all working stations and ensuring that every workstation has enough leg area.

Safety measures to be followed by employees

As employees, one should always put forward his/her health and safety whilst using a computer. They can do this in several ways:

  •  Work on a standing chair (if available).
  •  Stand up, stretch elbows and knees in between work.
  •  Put your chin down and slowly slide towards one shoulder to another. It helps relieve neck pain.
  •  Stretch your arms above head level.
  •  Look away from the screen every half hour for 3/ 4 minutes to release pressure from your eyeball. 
  • Carry a cushion to provide neck support.
  • Take a small stroll every two hours.
  • Work on your posture; try sitting in an upright position.
  • Avoid slouching or bending in front.

However, the most important cure for all musculoskeletal problems is regular Exercises for the back, neck and shoulders. One can do these exercises during break time or lunch hours or at home. Exercises increase blood flow and muscle tension in different areas of our body. It reduces the stiffness around the neck, upper and lower back as well as the shoulder area. 

Regular visits to your local chiropractors or physiotherapist are a massive help.  Chiropractors help correctly align your musculoskeletal system and restoring to normal by using several techniques. In contrast, physiotherapists will work on specific exercises and appropriate heat treatments to cure the pain.

This is the Workplace Safety Planning

Learn strategies for promoting awareness and cooperation amongst staff and gain the tools to create and implement an effective and sustainable work health and safety framework in your workplace

This is the heWorkplace Safety Planning Courseading

Learn strategies for promoting awareness and cooperation amongst staff and gain the tools to create and implement an effective and sustainable work health and safety framework in your workplace

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, computers have made our lives a lot easier for both work and academic purposes. There are health and safety concerns whilst using a computer, but we can minimise these concerns with proper precautions and safety measures since “ Prevention is better than cure”. Thus, if one follows all disease preventive measures, every individual would live a very healthy lifestyle.

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