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Preventing Computer Related Injuries

April 20, 2011

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Computer-related injuries occur due to poor postures and improper setup of the work stations. According to Nicholas Bakalar, researchers for The American Journal of Preventative Medicine estimated that there were 9,279 emergency room visits for computer-related injuries in 2006, up from 1,267 in 1994. Over the course of the 13 year study period, over 78,000 people between the ages of 1 month to 89 years were treated in emergency rooms for acute computer-related injuries. (Nicholas Bakalar, NY Times, July 6, 2009)

Here are a few ways you can prevent serious injury while working at your computer:

1. Adopt a proper sitting posture by reorganizing your workspace, which includes your desk, chair, and computer equipment, to work with a more comfortable posture which reduces stress on muscles, tendons, and the skeletal system. According to the United States Department of Labor, the most comfortable working posture is the one in which all joints of the body are aligned. (Good Working Positions, United States Department of Labor) This posture reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system. Use this guide as a checklist to analyze your workplace posture.

2. Rest your eyes. In an article by Natural Eye Care, a study by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimated that 90% of all US workers that use computers for more than 3 hours per day experienced Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) in some form. This condition results from focusing the eyes on a computer screen for prolonged periods of time. The article also suggests that it is important to take short, frequent breaks, by getting up from your computer desk, in order to relax your eyes. A 2-3 minute break every half hour is much better than a 10 minute break every hour.

3. Stretch. According to Sharon Hame, MD, Associate Clinical Professor at UCLA’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, people who sit on their computer for a long time without moving are prone to serious medical problems. Working at your desk all day can result in aches and pains. In order to prevent the aches and pains, it is important to stretch while at your computer desk. (Susan Seliger, Web MD, May 27, 2009) Use these stretching exercises to help reduce pain and provide an energy boost.

It is very important to be cautious of developing proper ergonomics when working on a computer. Failure to do so may result in injuries that will cause loss of work days, productivity, and good health.

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