I wrote this for CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, July 2004, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to reproduce it here for my readers.
Watch the OOS.
There’s a lot of talk these days about computer safety: viruses, trojans, phishing expeditions, Internet Explorer vulnerabilities — you can barely check the news without one or other computer safety problem being mentioned.
But in all the worry about the safety of the actual computer and its data we might be losing sight of another concern around computers. If we’re not cautious it’s very easy to be affected by OOS — Occupational Overuse Syndrome. All too many of us suffer temporary or permanent damage to our wrists, arms, necks or backs thanks to poor computing habits.
In government departments and many businesses there are various rules aiming to prevent OOS, but it’s easily overlooked in community organisations. How do you and your volunteers or staff fare?
It’s important to set up your computer “workstation” in ways conducive to good use. It’s also important to follow some fairly simple guidelines such as taking regular stretching breaks and ensuring your posture is good while you use a computer.
The Computer Related Repetitive Strain Injury web page is very easy to read and is packed full of useful advice, pictures and diagrams and links to further information. Take a break right now and visit the page. Try out a couple of stretches; look at the recommended setup for your computer.
Also check the Health and Safety legislation which requires employers to provide a safe workplace.
Add an item on health and safety with computers to your next committee meeting agenda. Devise a strategy to make sure that all volunteers and employees, as well as those who use your programmes, will be safe around computers.