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Health and Safety. AS Module 1 10.10 Heathcote Ch. 13. Computers and Health. Not so long ago, computers were expected to release humans from the drudgery of boring and repetitive work Nowadays, computers are deemed responsible for a whole range of health hazards Stress RSI Eyestrain

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health and safety

Health and Safety

AS Module 1 10.10

Heathcote Ch. 13

computers and health
Computers and Health
  • Not so long ago, computers were expected to release humans from the drudgery of boring and repetitive work
  • Nowadays, computers are deemed responsible for a whole range of health hazards
    • Stress
    • RSI
    • Eyestrain
    • ELF radiation
    • Backache
  • Major factor in work-related illness
  • Ways in which computers put pressure on workers:
    • They may be used to monitor performance
    • They induce fear and panic – particularly in older people
    • It can be impossible to escape them
      • Mobile phones, modems, laptops
    • Information overload
    • Speed of development contributes to stress-related illnesses
rsi repetitive strain injury
RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)
  • Usually affects hands, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders and neck
  • Can develop to be very debilitating
  • Once it develops it tends to recur
  • HSE says more than 100,000 workers suffer to some degree
  • Long hours spent in front of a screen
  • No evidence that computers cause permanent damage
  • The following factors all contribute to at least temporary eyestrain
    • Glare
    • Improper lighting
    • Improperly corrected vision (wrong glasses)
    • Poor work practices
    • Poorly designed workstations
elf extremely low frequency radiation
ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) Radiation
  • Exposure to ELF is an everyday occurrence
    • Can occur naturally – sun, fire, magnetic effects
  • Research suggests that effects of ELF are increasing
  • Some studies try to link ELF to early miscarriages
  • No clear-cut results
    • There is evidence of some correlation between miscarriages and hours spent at a VDU
    • This could be due to other factors such as stress and workplace conditions
  • Ongoing controversy over mobile phones
computers health and the law 1
Computers, Health and the Law 1
  • Employers are required to:
    • Perform an analysis of workstations in order to evaluate the safety and health conditions to which they give rise
    • Provide training to employees in the use of workstation components
    • Ensure employees take regular breaks or changes in activity
    • Provide regular eye tests for workstation users and pay for glasses
computers health and the law 2
Computers, Health and the Law 2
  • Employees have a responsibility to:
    • Use workstations and equipment correctly, in accordance with training provided by employers
    • Bring problems to the attention of their employer immediately and co-operate in the correction of these problems
computers health and the law 3
Computers, Health and the Law 3
  • Manufacturers are required to ensure that their products comply with the Directive. For example:
    • Screens must tilt and swivel
    • Keyboards must be separate and moveable
    • Notebook PCs are not suitable for entering large amounts of data
the ergonomic environment
The Ergonomic Environment
  • Ergonomics refers to the design and functionality of the environment, and encompasses the entire range of environmental factors. Employers must give consideration to:
    • Lighting: office well lit, with blinds
    • Furniture: chairs of adjustable height, with tilting backrest, swiveling on five-point base
    • Work space: combination of chair, desk, computer, accessories, lighting, heating and ventilation all contribute to overall well-being
    • Noise: e.g. noisy printers relocated
    • Hardware: screen must tilt and swivel and be flicker-free, the keyboard separately attached
    • Software: should facilitate task, be easy to use and adaptable to user’s experience