You can reduce your risk of injury by preventing workplace fatigue.
When you perform boring or repetitive tasks, your brain is not the only part of you that gets tired.
Your muscles, wrists and eyes are just some of the parts of your body that are being fatigued and at risk of injury from long hours at the computer. You might not be able to change the nature of your work, but you can change the way you approach it.
Here are some suggestions:
Maintaining a static position is fatiguing for the body.
Remember, in a quantifiable risk assessment, maintaining a static position is a factor that significantly increases your ergonomic risk.
- Get up and move around.
- Alternate between sitting solutions such as an office chair and a physio ball if your work requires extended sitting.
- Alternate between sitting and standing if appropriate for you.
Incorrect hand positioning at the keyboard and mouse places unacceptable amounts of strain on your wrist and finger joints.
- Stretch your hands and wrists frequently.
- Keep your mousing hand in a straight line from your forearm, with wrist neither flexed up or extended down. Middle finger should point straight ahead.
- Try an ergonomic mouse. An ergonomic mouse keeps your wrists in a neutral (handshake) position and there are different styles to fit different preferences.
- Lower the back legs on your keyboard to avoid flexing at the wrist.
If you are spending long periods of time staring at a screen, your eyes are probably getting tired. Dim or very bright lighting as well as dryness in the air are all contributing factors.
- Make sure to practice the 20-20-20 rule, Every twenty minutes look twenty meters into the distance for twenty seconds. I’ve heard it said that this rule can be taken to mean every twenty minutes smoke twenty cigarettes with twenty friends but I can’t recommend it.
Fatigue is a precursor to injury. If your muscles, wrists and eyes are tired or aching, a change in habits or equipment is recommended.
Photo credit: Adam Lynch via Flickr