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Computer Health & Safety

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Kayla Raymond

on 19 April 2016

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Transcript of Computer Health & Safety

Computer Health & Safety

In a nutshell:
Ergonomics is made to help minimize the
physical effort and discomfort that comes from the use of
computers, and maximize the efficiency of workers

the study of the health and safety of an employee
the study of how workers interact with computers in their work environments
focuses on improving the setup/arrangement of computer related equipment
allows workers to interact with it in a healthy, efficient, comfortable and SAFE manner
Specifically focuses on: physical designs of the hardware components of computer systems
because of this, safety of employees who interact with these machines daily, is significantly improving

Correct Hardware:
Characteristics of an Ergonomically Correct Workstation
By Zainab Shah & Kayla Raymond

Computers and technology impact our everyday lives in numerous positive

make tasks more efficient and hassle free
benefit society by creating more information technology professions
open up innovative communication methods
used for diagnosing medical patients
running weather simulations to predict weather patterns
perform complicated mathematical calculations

Along with all of these advantages, comes one of the most controversial
aspects of computers and IT.
Are they safe for our health…?

The Benefits vs. The Main Concern

To avoid injuries (which we’ll get into later) it's important to
take precautions and follow specific guidelines to ensure that
you have an ergonomically correct workstation. An
ergonomically correct workstation consists of two main

1. Correct
: Keyboards, mice, desks, computer
monitors, keyboard trays, chairs and footrests etc.

2. Working in the correct
Environment and Surroundings
Room temperature, lighting, wall and ceiling colours etc.

Computer Monitor:

Adjustable height, at or just below eye level (to avoid neck pain and eye strain)
Arm’s length away
Anti-glare monitor (to avoid direct light from interfering with the placement of the computer)
Adjust the contrast, brightness, colour, and font size to a comfortable level


Adjustable seat height
Adjustable armrests (comfortable and relaxed)
Adjustable lower back support
Has wheels, a strong base and swivels 360 degrees
Comfortable design
Extra padding and seat cushion for comfort

Computer Desk

Sliding keyboard tray (comfort and ease)
90 degree angle with your elbows and the keyboard
CPU platform
Place the keyboard and mouse as close together as possible
Don’t center the keyboard, center the alphanumeric part of keyboard
Correct Hardware:
Correct Hardware:
Correct Hardware:
Correct Environment & Surroundings:
Health and safety issues related to IT:
Back Injuries
Eye Strain
Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI's)
Manufacturing computers disrupts ecology in areas where land is cleared in order to build factories
Pollution can contaminate food chains which greatly affects the environment’s natural cycles
Discarded computers are hazardous waste and when they are put in landfill, there is the danger of this waste being released into the environment and contaminating ecosystems
Electronic Waste
Also called e-waste
Used computers get thrown out when they break or become outdated, creating waste
The waste of computers and other forms of technology is called “techno-trash”
Manufacturing technology creates large amounts of waste products like plastic, foam, and other packaging materials that do not decompose
80 – 85% of electronic products are discarded into landfills or incinerators, which can release toxins into the air
20 – 50 million tons of e-waste is produced each year (worldwide)
Americans dump cell phones and other electronic devices containing over $60 million in gold, silver, and other precious metals each year
Misuse of Printers
Thought to save paper, but in reality may increase the use of paper
9 out of 10 sheets of paper printed are never even read
Effect on Ecosystems
Harmful Materials
Computers contain all sorts of hazardous materials that are dangerous to the environment
Most computers contain at least 8 materials listed as hazardous by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which is one of the Federal laws that controls the disposal of waste in the United States
The most harmful material that computers contain is lead (around 4 – 8 lbs. per computer)
Lead is a bio-accumulative toxin heavy metal (it stays in your body) that damages the blood and nervous systems
E-waste only makes up 2% of the trash in landfills, but it accounts for 70% of the toxic waste in landfills

Adjustable height and angle
Large surface area to place feet flat
Has an anti-slip base
Fan with adjustable airflow
Help maintain a 90 degree angle with knees
Tips for an Ergonomically Correct Workplace:

Avoid bending your wrists when typing
Maintain good posture, keep knees aligned with hips
Place monitor directly in front of you, avoid of the tilting head
Clean monitor regularly to prevent dust build up
Position chair, keyboard and monitor correctly

Maintain an appropriate room temperature (21-23 degrees Celsius)
Have suitable air circulation to reduce dust and bacteria in the air
Ensure the room is clean (to avoid developing allergies)
Have good lighting to reduce eye irritation, blurred vision, burning eyes and headaches
Have as much natural light as possible (i.e. windows)
Have matte paint on walls and ceiling (to avoid the reflection of light)

By correctly following ergonomic guidelines that were previously mentioned, injuries that cover a wide variety of health problems can be avoided.

If people fail to follow important guidelines, they may experience consequences that will affect their health. The three most common health issues related to the use of IT consist of: back injuries, eye strain/discomfort and repetitive strain injuries.

Other minor symptoms that IT users can experience consist of: headaches, drowsiness, allergies, backaches and sleep disorders.
improper posture or height/position of chair
sitting for long periods of time
leaning forward on a chair
having knees above hip level

back stiffness/discomfort in specific positions
back strain
herniated discs (problem with vertebrae in spine)
excruciating pain with any movement

maintain natural curves in the back
sit all the way back on chair
strong backrest with lumbar support
take frequent breaks from sitting
keep feet flat on the floor or use a foot rest
level knees and hips
improper lighting / glares on monitor
improper angle or distance of monitor
exposure to very bright or dim lights
looking at the monitor for long periods of time

blurred vision / doubled vision
temporary inability to focus on objects
significant change in vision
dry eyes (because of a decease in blink rate)

have a natural light source
ensure light is not pointing directly to screen
sit at least arm's length away from monitor
frequently look away and take breaks
get eye examinations often
use a high resolution monitor for clear images
do eye exercises to relax your eyes
Works Cited
Only 11% of computers are actually recycled properly, compared with 42% for solid waste and 70% for major appliances (like refrigerators)
Billions of old computers are dumped in landfills each year
Other common metals contained in PC's are:
Environmental Effects of Computers/Electronic Devices
Excessive Use of Resources
Non-renewable resources, including precious metals like gold, are used to make computers and other technology
Materials like coal are consumed to generate the electricity in order to use these computers
Even renewable resources like trees and water are being consumed and contaminated by the making and use of technology
The average computer and screen manufacturer uses at least 530 lbs. of fossil fuels, 48 lbs. of chemicals, and 3000 lbs. of water for a computer that weighs 50 lbs.
As well as materials used to build the computers, an excessive amount of materials are used to package and deliver computers
Materials like plastic, foam, cardboard, and other common packaging products are used for each computer
Common RSI's
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS):
caused by the compression of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel in the wrist area. Lack of blood flow causes numbness and pain in the hand

Diffuse RSI:
patients complain of pain, but nothing seems to by physically wrong when examined by health care professionals.

caused by the inflammation of a tendon.

Trigger finger:
a condition in which one of your fingers or thumb catches in a bent position. This can cause inflammation of the fingers/thumbs.
A US study found that there is a rise in sudden computer-related injuries and that young children are most affected.
maintain a neutral position with wrists when typing
adjust keyboard, desk and chair height to obtain correct angles
cut down on mouse usage using keyboard shortcuts (many people develop RSI's in their right hand)
use wrist and mouse pads
use ergonomic keyboards and mice, and take regular breaks
the repetitive use of a certain body part (typically wrists)
repetitive tasks
forceful exertions or vibrations
pressing against hard surfaces
sustained or awkward positions

uncomfortable conditions of the muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissues
stiffness, throbbing, weakness and cramping
aching/pain and tenderness
Pollution & Fossil Fuels
The manufacturing and use of computers causes air, water, heat, and noise pollution
Computers release a high amount of carbon dioxide, which contributes to the greenhouse effect and the depletion of the ozone layer
An average 24-kilogram desktop computer requires at least 10 times its weight in fossil fuels and chemicals during the manufacturing process
This is more than for an automobile or refrigerator, which only require 1-2 times their weight in fossil fuels
Heavy Power Consumption
Leaving your computer on for a long period of time (2 or more hours) uses more energy than turning it off and back on again
Screen savers do not conserve energy – they sometimes use more energy than not having one
Ways to Prevent these Environmental Problems
School Lab Rules
Ancaster High has a rule where in order to use the library printer, you have to pay

This discourages students form printing too much and using an excessive amount of paper
Business Rules & Regulations
It is more complicated to recycle computers from a business because they may have equipment from many different manufacturing companies
This makes contacting the manufacturer for recycling more difficult
Businesses will often hire a contractor to carry out recycling arrangements for old computers and other technology
Some companies offer a package deal for businesses: they pick up unwanted equipment, erase all data, and provide an estimate of the remaining value (so businesses can sell old computers and buy new ones)
Recycling Computers
When computers are recycled, waste is eliminated and the materials can be reused; less materials need to be obtained from the natural environment
Recycling of computers is increasing; more and more new computers are made from recycled materials
Recycling 1 million laptops saves enough energy to power (with electricity) over 3600 American homes for one year
How You Can Help
You can donate old computers to charities instead of throwing them out (this will benefit you because you may be offered tax benefits)
You can send old devices back to original manufacturer where they will be recycled and some materials and parts will be used
You can take old electronic devices to a convenient recycling or refurbishing plant
Instead of buying a new electronics each time an upgrade comes out, keep your current model and upgrade in a few years
Buy computers that have less toxicity, greater recycled content, and higher efficiency
Refill printer cartridges instead of buying new ink cartridges
How You Can Save Energy
Power management software is available – this allows you to save energy and money
Turn off your monitor when you won’t be using it for at least 20 minutes
Turn of your computer if you won’t be using it for at least 2 hours
Make sure your computers, printers, scanners, etc. are on a power strip
Make use of the “sleep mode” and “hibernate” settings that come with your computer – they will help save a lot of energy as well as save you up to $30 each year in electricity bills
Buy ENERGY STAR monitors that use 2 watts or less in sleep mode and 1 watt or less when off
Do not use screen savers, instead turn of or use sleep mode
Use energy efficient laptops instead of traditional desktop computers
Green Computing
Also known as green IT (information technology)
Environmentally sustainable use of computers
Strives to minimize greenhouse gases and waste, and increase cost effectiveness
IT manufacturers are investing in the design of energy efficient computing devices
Started in 1992 when the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) released the ENERGY STAR program
Four approaches of green computing: green use, green disposal, green design, and green manufacturing
Green use
minimizes the electricity consumption of computer and peripheral devices and uses them in an eco-friendly way
Green disposal
means re-purposing an existing computer or recycling unwanted electronic equipment
Green design
means designing energy efficient computers, servers, printer, projectors, and other digital devices
Green manufacturing
minimizes the waste during the manufacturing of computers and other systems to reduce the environmental impact
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