Health and Safety

Health and Safety is crucial to the effective operation of a computer. Stress is widely accepted as a common and possibly the most dangerous aspect of using a computer.

It is possible to use a computer safely if a few simple rules are maintained.

Musculoskelatal problems can occur when improper office equipment is used. Chairs should be adjustable so that legs are at a right angle. The back should have good support for the spine and lower back. The seat should swivel and be made from fabric that is porous.

Eye strain can be caused by staring at a fix object for extended periods of time (like a computer). People who use glasses may have to get their prescriptions changed and people who use bifocals can find that the line interferes with the screen and trifocals triple the problem. Regular users of computers may develop focusing problems. Temporary colour distortion has also been reported.

A safe working environment is crucial. Ventilation is an integral part of the new technological workplace. Though standards are set by the manufacturer of computer equipment the modern office has many different pieces of equipment. All electronic equipment emit some level of electromagnetic field which, on it's own, most likely isn't a concern but when combined with other equipment can create hazardous working environments. Pregnant women should take extra care when working around electromagnetic fields. Like any piece of equipment, computers should have scheduled maintenance.

Stress is caused by many things including poor or inadequate training, monitoring, fear of new technology, lack of control over work, physical problems, hardware problems causing delays, poor layout of work space and the myriad of other problems that people experience that combine to create stressful situations.

Time away from the computer during the work day is crucial! This gives the body a chance to stretch and gives the eyes a chance to rest. Breaks should be scheduled and followed with great discipline. Computers, even more so than television, have a mesmerizing effect on the user so that it is easy to work right through breaks without noticing.

Some thought should also go into how you get rid of old equipment. Try to avoid throwing old computer and other electronic equipment into the garbage. Instead find a local company or community group that can recycle the old equipment.

There are many other issues to be discussed around computer health and safety but it is important to understand that there are problems and solutions to those problems that the user, administrator and manager must address.

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