Computer Ergonomics - Avoiding MSD and RSI
Healthful Work Habits
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|What Is MSD & RSI?|
|Preventing Eye Strain|
|Healthful Work Habits|
|Safety & Comfort Checklist (Summary)|
The arrangement of furniture, equipment, and lighting are not the only factors that determine your risk for MSD/RSI. Your work habits are also very important. This section recommends good work habits to help reduce your risk of MSD/RSI.
Note — People have different levels of physical tolerance for working intensively over long periods. Monitor your personal tolerance levels, and avoid regularly exceeding them. If any of the additional risk factors for MSD/RSI apply to you, it is especially important for you to know your personal limits.
First and foremost, vary your activities. Take some time to analyze the types of tasks you perform. Break up your routine and try to vary your tasks so that you do not end up sitting in one position or performing the same activities with your hands for several hours at a time. Staying too long in one position, or repeating the same motion many times, causes discomfort and injury. Do something different with your hands and arms for a while. For example, if you typically do several hours of data-entry each day, see if you can intersperse other tasks with your data-entry so that you do not end up typing non-stop for several hours at a time.
Note — If it hurts, stop! – MSD/RSI can be a lifetime crippling disorder. Absolutely the worst thing you can do is "work through the pain." If you have any of the symptoms of MSD/RSI, and altering your workstation/work-habits doesn't help, see a doctor.
If you must work at your computer for prolonged periods, make sure you take periodic breaks. Get up, stretch, and walk around at least twice every hour, if only for a minute or two. Frequent, short breaks are probably of greater benefit than fewer, longer breaks - especially in light of recent research regarding the detrimental effects of sitting still for as little as one hour.
Other suggestions for work habits that can reduce your risk of MSD/RSI: