Category - ergonomics

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Don’t Let Your Laptop Ruin Your Posture

fb_laptop_blogLaptop computers are everywhere. They’re portable and lightweight – so much so, that many people use them throughout the day, be it at work, at home, or at the local coffee shop. But laptop use can lead to posture problems, if you’re not careful.

The very thing that makes a laptop computer so popular – its convenient all-in-one design – also makes it a potential hazard. Unlike a desktop computer, a laptop’s keyboard and screen are attached to each other. Ergonomically speaking, an optimal computer setup would have your monitor in your direct eye line, your keyboard near your waist, and your forearms at a 90-degree angle to your upper arms. But due to its attached screen, this is not possible with a laptop.

With a laptop, you make sacrifices. Your typing position may be too high, which can cause issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome. And your monitor position may be too low, which can cause neck- and shoulder-strain issues.

To minimize laptop-related issues, you should consider the following suggestions:

  • Purchase a docking station and external monitor for your laptop. Not only will this monitor be larger and easier to read, it can be adjusted to a proper ergonomic level.
  • Consider a second keyboard. A second keyboard can be placed in a keyboard tray under your desk that can help you maintain an optimal 90-degree elbow angle.
  • Try to find a chair that can be adjusted to provide the best compromise between monitor angle and keyboard position.
  • If you are unable to work at an ergonomic laptop station, make sure you take frequent breaks—usually every 20 minutes or so. This will help minimize joint and muscle strain.
  • Be aware of warning signs. If you notice tingling, numbness, or pain, take a break. If it persists, see a doctor.
  • And, finally, never use a laptop on your lap. Not only does this force you to look down at your monitor at a very awkward angle, it also creates the risk of heat damage. Modern portable computers have become thinner and smaller as they’ve become more powerful. This means they generate more heat with less space to dissipate it. Consequently, laptops get extremely hot, especially when used for intensive tasks or for long periods of time. In fact, this risk of burning your skin is why laptops are no longer called laptops but are instead referred to as notebook computers by the computer industry.

For more information on laptop ergonomics visit our workstation tips page.

The Fall months ahead, here are a few safety tips to help prevent any upper extremity injuries

Ladder Safety

With the Fall months upon us the leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground. Many home owners will be raking and cleaning the leaves out of their yards and gutters. One of the tools used for this is the ladder. Ladders are very useful tools, but if not properly used you can hurt yourself. The most common injuries are dislocations and sprains, followed by fractures and open wounds. These injuries are typically severe and complicated secondary to the high degree of energy the body absorbs from a fall from a like this. Here are some helpful tips to use this fall.

  • Always inspect the ladder before use. Check for loose screws or damage.
  • Place ladder on a even surface.
  • Do not use the top step on the ladder.
  • Always maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) on the ladder when climbing and always face the ladder.
  • Do not extend the center of your body’s torso past either side rail of the ladder. Over-reaching or leaning to far to one side when you are on a ladder could make you lose your balance and fall.
  • Ladders should be set up at a 4:1 angle (1 ft out from the base for every 4 ft of rise)
  • Use the right ladder for the job. Extension ladders are ideal for use outdoors to reach high places like gutters on the roof.
  • Be sure all locks are properly engaged on the extension ladder before use.
  • If you would like further information Werner Ladders has provided a great “Ladder Safety Tips” brochure on their website. It is full of helpful illustrations and diagrams. Please visit their website and download the PDF file at http://www.wernerladder.com/catalog/files/rc310.pdf

    Ergonomic Rakes

    The task of raking the leaves out of the yard can be taxing and cause pain in your upper extremity. You can stretch before raking to warm up your muscles and make sure to take breaks often. The use of an ergonomic rake can greatly decrease the stress on your back and arms. Here are a list of a few ergonomic rakes.

    The Snake Rake

    http://www.snakerake.com/home.html

    Leaf Gard Brand Pivot Leaf Rake

    The ergonomic Leaf Rake

    http://www.ergonomics-info.com/ergonomic-rake.html