The rise in general computer usage in modern society using keyboards that permit high speed typing have resulted in an epidemic of injuries of the hands, arms, and shoulders. Use of pointing devices like mice and trackballs are as much a cause, if not more so. The thousands of repeated keystrokes and long periods of clutching and dragging mice slowly accumulates damage to the upper body limbs.
The symptoms of RSI known as Repetitive Strain Injuries include aches, pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness and cramps. RSI is caused by a combination of overuse and repetition, awkward or static posture and insufficient recovery time. RSI is preventable and treatable. It is vital not to ignore the early warning signs. If you have any of the symptoms of RSI take action now on prevention. If symptoms persist seek treatment immediately.
If you are encountering any of the following ailments including Tingling, coldness, or numbness in the hands at anytime even after a period of using your keyboard,some loss of strength and coordination in the hands, Pain that wakes you up at night sometimes , Feeling the need to massage your hands after keying in data, wrists, and arms and Pain in the upper back, shoulders or neck, this will be most likely due to the repeated use of a computer.
If you are encountering any of the ailments described above and you use a computer for more than three hours a day whilst at work, then your employer is not preventing your health problems,you can actually win considerable damages in a court of law for this breach in regulations.
The Display Screen Equipment Regs 1992 sets out what an employer must do, by law to protect your safety whilst at work using a computer. Your employer can be prosecuted in a Civil & Criminal court of law if the employer knew, or ought to have known, that the employee was exposed to risk of injury from using a computer. This is obvious as Health & Safety in computer usage has been well communicated to all employers through the promotion of health and safety and common sense.
Also given that the foreseeable risk, that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or reduce the risk of injury to the employee and that the employees injury was caused, or contributed to, by the work the employee was required to carry out and the employers breach of duty.
So how can you and your employer protect your safety whilst working with computers whilst at work? The most important tool for anyone to use in this instance is to complete a Computer Usage Risk Assessment otherwise known as a DSE assessment or Workstation assessment.
The areas risk assessed include how long you work on a computer, do you take regular breaks,are all your computer equipment set up correctly to prevent injury, is there glare on the monitor screen, seat and posture ,space to move legs, space in front of the keyboard to rest your arms, noise distractions,can your feet touch the floor, can you place all your equipment around you without needing to stretch etc.
If your employer does not know how to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to your health whilst at work, then recommend they do so immediately to prevent further damage to you and your colleagues health whilst using computers.
· 9 years ago