HOME Ergonomics Multiple Strain Injuries

Preventing Multiple-Strain Injuries

The following guidelines can prevent Multiple-Strain Injuries and improve worksites.

  • Use an ergonomically appropriate chair that fits the person to his/her workstation.
  • Use supplemental equipment to reduce musculoskeletal strain (i.e., wrist rests, copy stands, lumbar rolls).
  • Position equipment properly (i.e., lower keyboards, position terminals to reduce glare, provide adequate work space to perform the task required by the job).
  • Recommended appropriate VDT terminal placement is:
    • 24 inches average distance face to screen and all sides regardless of partitions.
    • Top of VDT screen should be at eye level.
  • Encourage employees to use a mouse or trackball instead of a light pen.
  • Provide noise insulation - Recommend printers and other noise generating equipment (i.e., copiers) be placed away from immediate work areas. Purchase "quiet" printers/copiers or printer hoods.
  • Recommend employees get regular (annual) eye exams. UVA allows use of sick time for exams. Expenses are the responsibility of employees.
  • Prevent glare - close blinds, use soft lighting and task lighting, provide anti-glare screens.
  • Adopt a policy within the department which encourages employees to take "computer breaks", examples below.
    • Non-computer related work tasks - nature of task(s) is different from computer tasks and can be performed as a "rest job" away from VDT
    • Deskside exercises - changing posture and eye focus approximately 1-2 minutes/hour while remaining at workstation (i.e., stretching muscles, blinking eyes, and looking into distances)
    • 15 minute rest break after 2 hours of continuous VDT work for operators under moderate visual demands (i.e.- reading reports, data entry)
    • 15 minute rest break after 1 hour of continuous VDT work where there is high visual demand or repetitive work tasks (i.e.- reading raw data, strings of numbers)
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