Describe the health and safety risks facing the user and practitioner whilst working with computer systems , identifying for each one appropriate legislative guidelines and recommended precautions?


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Abi Ainscough answered
There are a number of health and safety risks surrounding the use of computers in the workplace. These include eye strain and problems, aches and pains in the body, problems such as repetitive strain injury, issues with cleanliness and lifting computer equipment, as well as the computer itself posing a health and safety threat from dangers such as electrocution.

• Eye strain and eye related problems

Staring at a computer monitor for an entire working day puts strain on your eyes and the muscles surrounding your eyes. The strain placed upon eyes is intensified if you work with a laptop rather than a desktop computer. In order to reduce eye strain and associated problems such as blurred vision, double vision, watering and headaches, there are a number of recommended precautions. These include blinking regularly, exercising the eyes at regular intervals by focusing on objects at different distances away from you, ensuring that the monitor is at the right height (your eyes should be in line with the top of the screen when you are sitting in a comfortable position), ensuring that you are comfortable with the brightness and contrast setting of your computer, keeping your monitor or screen clean and ensuring you take regular eye tests with a registered optician.

• Aches and pains in the body, and related problems

Sitting still in front of your computer for eight or more hours per day also puts the muscles in your body under strain. This can lead to problems such as stiffness or aching within the body, repetitive strain injury from typing, and tension, especially in the back and neck. In order to prevent such problems, there are a number of recommended precautions. These include taking regular breaks from your computer (at least five minutes per hour is recommended), ensuring that your monitor is between 18 and 24 inches away from your face, ensuring that your forearms are parallel to the floor when using the keyboard, using a padded wrist guard or a mouse pad with wrist padding, using a chair which provides support for your back and ensuring you have enough leg room to move your legs and feet about freely (although your feet should be flat on the floor and close together at all times).

Activities such as yoga and stretching are also beneficial for those who spend a lot of time sitting at a computer.

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