Considering health and safety when using computers is very important.
Computers have come to be a mainstay in our everyday life. It is used offices, schools, religious centers and in our homes, etc.
In as much as computers have come to be an integral part of our everyday lives, there are numerous hazards it poses to it users which needs to be managed.
This is why it has become very important to understand how to apply health and safety when using computers.
Hazard associated with the use of computers
I will group hazards associated with the use of computers into broadly three (3) main categories:
- Musculoskeletal hazards
- Electrical Hazards
- Administrative hazards
Musculoskeletal hazards: This comprise mainly of poor workstation design and arrangement. This is caused mainly by repetitive motion; this is why it is also be called repetitive motion injury.
There are lots of musculoskeletal disorders, some are:
– Muscle/Tendon strain
– Ligament Sprain
– Tension Neck Syndrome
– Radial Tunnel Syndrome
– Digital Neuritis
– Trigger Finger/Thumb, etc.
Electrical Hazards: Computers are electrical equipment, hence they also pose the same hazards a typical electrical equipment poses. The major electrical hazards include:
– Faulty equipment or cable leads
– Overload of electrical sockets and extension sockets
– Running cable leads, etc.
Administrative hazards: This has to do with the job plan and schedule. Allowing for extensive time on the computer without intermittent break, not providing screen guard on the computers to reduce glare, poor workstation design for the workers (Poor ergonomic design), etc.
The above general categories of hazards are things which should be considered when planning to apply health and safety into the use computers.
To implement Health and safety when using computers, a planned approach has to be adopted. This approach will follow a planned sequence.
This takes us to the next sub-heading:
How to apply Health and Safety when using computers
- Carry out risk assessment – This will help expose the areas which needs attention that should be managed.
- Ensure adequate workstation design – Ensure that the workstation is ergonomically safe.
- Provide screen guard: The screen guard helps to reduce the light from the computer screen entering the eyes.
- Good lighting should be provided to prevent straining of the eyes. Poor lighting produces glares which are detrimental to the eyes; when the glares are controlled, the eyes will be safe.
- Provide administrative control: Management should plan for administrative breaks for staffs using computers. This will give time for the eyes to relax.
- Control electrical hazards by providing electrically safe equipment, ensuring that electrical leads are well insulated, discourage overloading of electrical sockets/extensions, etc.
- Ensure good house keeping by preventing running cable leads along the walk path to prevent trip and fall.
- Train workers on the hazards associated with the use of computers and how best to manage them.
- Create a line of communication where, hazards/risks can be reported and promptly managed.
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