Page 4
Risk Factors
In computer tasks there are certain conditions or risk factors that can contribute to the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) when computer users are exposed frequently to these risk factors, or for long periods of time. The conditions for exposing a user to the risk of MSDs associated with computer use are as follows:

• Keying for long periods of time without breaks or rest
• Using force when striking the keyboard or when gripping the pointing device (e.g. mouse, trackball)
• Working with awkward neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or back postures
• Remaining in the same position for a long time with little or no movement (e.g. sitting, holding the mouse)
• Continuous pressure against (leaning on) the wrist rest, work surface edge, or armrest with the wrists, forearms, or elbows; or against the front edge of the chair with the back of the legs.

Do not wait until you feel pain or discomfort. Learn to change the way you work. If you understand your body posture in relationship to your computer equipment and furniture, you may, in fact, be able to prevent this kind of injury.

If you are exposed to any of these risk factors repeatedly or for long periods, you might experience pain or discomfort. If you do, refer to the pages below for improvement options. If you continue to have pain or discomfort, let your immediate supervisor know.

  If you are having pain or
  discomfort here...
  It may be related to...
 Refer to these pages...
  LOWER BACK  •  Chair adjustment
 •  Organization of the work station
  UPPER BACK  •  Chair adjustment
 •  Keyboard height
 •  Location of the pointing device
 •  Organization of the work station
 •  Monitor height and distance
 •  Placement of the document
  NECK  •  Organization of the work station
 •  Monitor height and distance
 •  Placement of the document
  ARMS / SHOULDERS  •  Chair adjustment
 •  Keyboard height
 •  Location of the pointing device
 •  Organization of the work station
  FOREARMS  •  Keyboard height
 •  Location of the pointing device
 •  Organization of the work station
  WRISTS / HANDS  •  Keyboard height
 •  Location of the pointing device
 •  Organization of the work station

  VISION

 

 •  Monitor height and distance

27-28

 •  Monitor glare
 •  Placement of the document
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Department of Industrial Relations   Cal/OSHA Consultation Service   Research and Education Unit