Are modern, hi-tech offices adversely affecting workers’ health
In today’s high-tech world, most office buildings and other workplaces have a high proportion of advanced technological appliances. Mainly in reference to VDU’s (video display units), keyboards and mice, these places are potentially hazardous to workers’ health…especially when they spend long, uninterrupted or extremely frequent periods of time using the aforementioned tools.
Research has been carried out ever since there was worry that people could suffer adverse effects from prolonged exposure to radiation from VDU’s, and repetitive tasks performed to lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Office situations today are more or less certain to expose workers to these conditions, with sitting in front of monitors all day long and being forced to sit typing repetitively for hours on end.
Some health issues concerning computers didn’t really exist until a few years ago. An example of this is the radiation problem taking time to manifest itself, the problem has always been there, but not until recently, after people suffered unusual symptoms after years of working with computers, at that point, experts began investigating the radiation emissions from VDU’s. What they discovered was not good.
The repetitive strain problems were apparent quite early, simply because of the immediacy of the symptoms. Plus people already knew that typing can affect health due to typists being around for years and therefore obtaining some foresight on the matter.
Meanwhile, the posture and other physical restrictions of using computers frequently for extended periods of time were more or less common sense!
The other (more social) health problem arising from using computers too frequently (increasing all the time), is the social effects on the user’s life, as work becomes more intense or simply addiction sets in, users will leave the terminal less frequently and therefore miss out hugely on social activity. This same pattern of activity also results in physical health problems (the ones mentioned above, plus the putting on of weight, lack of exercise and in certain cases, a lack of education).
Unwelcome side effects are present in the technological world of today. The risks to health include radiation emissions, repetitive stress injuries and other computer-related health problems.
Although inconclusive, evidence shows that low levels of radiation are emitted from VDU’s and these may cause health problems including miscarriages during pregnancy, eyesight damage, and leukemia.
The most concrete example of health problems resulting from over-using computers is repetitive stress injuries like ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’
‘Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition of compressive entrapment of the median nerve at the wrist segment with associated pain and possibly motor deficit, predominantly of the thenar muscles.’ – Paul H. Martin, McHenry Neuro-diagnostics, McHenry Institute, Illinois
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an condition that can and will end up injuring the unfortunate individual who contracts it. This will result in the reduced effectiveness of that person.