Myths Regarding Cumulative Trauma
Just a few of the reigning misconceptions regarding computer-related injury. There are plenty more, but these are the big ones that we find are often the obstacles to a management decision to institute an ergonomics program.
Obviously, we think otherwise. We wouldn't be doing this work if we didn't.
It's impossible to become disabled while sitting.
Wrong. We usually think that a work injury means being hit on the head by a crate or throwing our back out lifting something heavy. In fact, there are very significant strains placed on the body when someone sits for long periods of time, particularly while performing a repetitive activity like regular computing.
Giving everyone a wrist rest will remove the risk.
Wrong. In many cases wrist support will help keep the wrists straight during keyboard use - an important goal. It also helps to have a soft surface for the hands in between actual keying, but many other ergonomic factors of the workstation need to be addressed to achieve optimum prevention of cumulative trauma.
Serious injuries are always very painful.
Wrong. When we feel an occasional ache or pain our natural response is to think that a couple of aspirin and some rest will cure the pain. Unfortunately, the early signs of potentially serious injuries are exactly these subtle and occasional pains. That is the time to respond, and that is the exact time when they can be controlled, preventing a potentially severe disability.
A safety program will compromise productivity.
Wrong. An effective prevention program emphasizes comfort. It's when the body is stressed and over-used by poor postures, shallow breathing, tight muscles, and lack of movement that tissues are at risk. When we are comfortable and using our energy efficiently, we get more done, think clearly, and don't fatigue so early in the day. Onsight also focuses on the efficient use of technology. Too many people waste hand movement and time by not learning key features of their computer.
A prevention program will be too expensive.
Wrong. Many owners and managers of organizations that rely heavily on computer use fear that addressing this issue will involve great expense, perhaps new chairs for everyone. Actually, the centerpiece of a safety program is awareness, teaching managers and workers alike to respond early to persistent symptoms, and to practice easily-learned safe work habits.
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