Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people, their work, and their physical work environment. The major goal of ergonomics is to fit the job to the individual.
Occupational Risk Factors Working with computers
There are four main risk factors people may experience when dealing with computer work. Even though the risk factors may be present, this does not mean you are destined to suffer an injury. You will benefit from being aware of the risk factors and how to minimize the risk as much as possible. The risk factors are:
- Repetition - task or series of motions performed over and over.
- Forceful Exertions - amount of physical effort required to complete the task.
- Awkward Postures - reaching, twisting, bending, holding fixed positions.
- Contact Stress - localized pressure exerted against the skin by external forces.
If you find yourself doing a task over and over, you should take adequate breaks from repititive motion. This means:
- Get up and move around (move your printer to a location where you have to get up.)
- During a break - roll your wrist and hands, this will help if you've been typing a long time.
- Try to vary your tasks as much as possible to avoid repetitive motions.
- To minimize forceful exertion - do not type with force, use as light a touch as possible.
- With everything we pick up, or push against, we should try and do it with as little force as possible.
The location of the telephone may cause you to have an awkward posture that you may not be aware of.
- Make sure your telephone is within easy reach.
- Make sure you do not have to twist (awkward posture) at the waist to reach the phone.
There are a couple of places you may feel contact stress:
- If you are resting your wrist on a sharp edge you are creating a contact stress.
To fix - do not rest your wrists on anything that will leave an indent mark on your skin.
- If the chair you are sitting in has a seat pan that pushes against the back of your knees you are experiencing a contact stress. You may need to get a chair with a sliding seat pan to give you enough room between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees.