How you have looked after the equipment and ensured its safety

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I have looked up my computer by starting it up correctly, by turning on the hard drive and then turning on the monitor once the monitor has received signal. I log on using my correct username and password so it doesn’t cause distress to the system. Whilst on the computer I do as asked and when on the Internet I don’t open up too many windows to make the computer stay as fast as it is supposed to run at. When I am finished I shut down the computer and turn off the monitor. Then I place the keyboard on top of the monitor and place the mouse-mat on top, to protect the keys. Then I place the mouse on top of the mat.

Ensuring the computer’s and the person using its safety includes:

* Inspections – desk’s, chairs, computers.

* Training – students are taught how to use equipment properly.

* Job Design – Correct software and being designed to do the job.

* Eye Tests – People using computers on regular occasions should have regular eye tests. Testing against any deficiencies the computer may cause.

There are illnesses you can get from computers and problems that occur whilst using computers on regular occasions. Repetitive strain injury (RSI), backache, eyestrain, headaches and skin rashes are conditions that can occur.

Looking after your computer involves:

* Cleaning your PC. Use a clean dry cloth to clean the monitor, and turn the keyboard upside down and shake gently to get paper clips and staples out. The crevice tool on a vacuum cleaner can help remove crumbs and dirt.

* As your PC gets older, schedule programmes such as Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter to run at regular intervals. These will help your computer run more efficiently.

* Always use the Shut Down button to end your computer session. Just turning your PC off may, at the very least, lose or corrupt data in your files.

Sitting Right and staying comfortable

Sitting in a hunched or slouched manner wile using a computer may eventually lead to muscle, joint and back pain. Avoid these problems by remembering to sit correctly.

Adjust the chair so that:

* Your lower back is supported.

* Your knees are level with your hips.

* Your feet are on the floor.

* Your eye level is just above the top of the screen.

Your forearm is nearly at a right angle to your upper arm, and your wrist is in a straight line with your hand and forearm.

Protection From Fires

Fires, which start in computer rooms, are rare. Usually they are the result of faulty wiring or overloaded sockets. It is more likely that a fire will start in adjacent offices or in storage areas. Fireproof doors help contain fires. Smoke detectors should be used to detect fires at an early stage. Gas flooding systems are used in large computer installations and are preferred to water ones because the damage done by water is often greater than that by fire.

Protection from dust and extremes of temperature

Air conditioning is more important for larger mainframe systems where the temperature and the humidity (amount of water in the air) must be controlled. The air must also be pure and therefore be filtered before it enters the rooms.

Protecting My Files

Software can be written which does not allow access to a computer unless a password is keyed in. The password, which is never shown on the screen, should be changed regularly and should never be written down. Obvious names should also not be used. Many large systems use software to limit each user’s access to only those files that are needed for the performance of their particular job; just like the system we have in our school.

Backing Up Data

Backing up data means taking a copy of the data and keeping it away from the computer in a secure place.

Rules for backing up:

* Never keep back up disks near the computer.

* Never keep the disks in the drawer of a desk.

* If you hold a lot of data, which would be very expensive to recreate, invest in a fire proof safe to protect against theft and fire.

Copyright and Confidentiality

Copyright is a kind of law. It says that if you make something, then it belongs to you. If you write a book, or you write some music, or you paint a picture, then the thing you made belongs to you. Other people cannot make a copy of it unless you say that they can.

Copyright is an important law. Copying something is much easier than making it. It is very hard to write a book. But it is easy to copy the words from a book someone else wrote. So many people could do this. But then, the person who wrote the book could not sell it. Anyone who wanted it would copy it. They would not buy it.

But then the person who wrote the book would have to do something else to get money. They would have less time to write books. If they write good books that would be a bad thing. We want them to have time to write books. Then we can read them and enjoy them. So we have to pay for the books, so that the person who wrote them can get money. And we have to stop people copying the books themselves, so that they have to pay for the books.

If you copy something that you did not make, and the person who made it has not said that you can copy it, then you are breaking copyright law. Usually, if the police catch you, you will have to pay a fine to the person who made the thing you copied. If you copied many things you might have to go to prison.

Some people say that Copyright law is bad. They say it does not work well. If you want to sell something you made, you have to take it to a publisher. But the publisher has many different things to sell. They may not want to sell the thing you made. Or they may sell it but not give all of the money to you. But you cannot stop them. Because without them you cannot sell the thing you made. People say this is very bad. It stops people getting money from selling things they have made. And copyright law does not help.

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act make it a criminal offence to copy or steal software. Under the act it is an offence to copy or distribute software or any manuals, which come with it, without permission or a licence from the copyright owner, who is normally the software designer. It is also an offence to run purchased software covered by copyright on two or more machines at the same time, unless the licence specifically allows it. The act makes it illegal for an organisation to encourage, allow, compel or pressure its employees to make or distribute copies of illegal software for use by the organisation.

Viruses are programs whose purpose is to disrupt the sensible use of computers. Many viruses do little more then display messages on a screen, but some are designed to act after a certain period of time and do such things as make letters start to drop off the screen or even erase the entire contents of the hard disk. As their name suggests, viruses are able to spread by ‘infecting’ other disks and they do this by copying themselves onto other disks, which are being used by the computer. Although there are many viruses (over 2000 to date), the main problems are caused by a handful of familiar ones like; Cascade, Form, Jerusalem, and Stoned. These viruses have been around for a long time; they are well understood and easy to remove by anti-virus software. Viruses are common when a large number of users are used; such as schools and work offices.

I have protected my work against Viruses by using anti-virus software, which scans my users memory and disks to detect viruses. If any viruses are detected, then the software removes them or disinfects the disk. My anti-virus program takes a minute to scan 200MB of files. My anti-virus program is constantly enabled and is usually on the highest level it can go on. This blocks all harmful data and files from infecting my computer. For instance I have just run a virus check and I have 3049 files on and linked to my user and none have been detected as corrupt.

Errors That The Computer Reports Whilst I Am Working

When I am working on the computer error reports come up frequently. One of the common ones is a spelling/grammar mistake. When you make a spelling mistake the word that you spelt incorrectly will have an squiggly red line underneath the incorrect word. This is to let the user have perfect work.

When you make a grammar mistake the word that you put in context wrong will have an squiggly green line underneath the incorrect word. This is to perfect the users grammar and again make them have perfect work.

Other errors are saving-errors. Sometimes you can be loading up too many windows at one time and the computer will ‘crash’ this is when the computer stops working and all its function are disabled; the mouse doesn’t work and nor does the keyboard. In the worst situation you have to shutdown the computer by the mains. This will cause all work that hasn’t been saved to become lost. Sometimes work is also lost by mistakes. When you close the window and it comes up: would you like to save? Sometimes you can accidentally press cancel-causing work to be lost again.

Personal Health and Safety Whilst Using a Computer

Health and safety when using computers requires both an awareness of legislation governing this area, and common sense. Developments in legislation for health and safety within the European Union (EU) led to the introduction of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1992. Regulations have subsequently been introduced for the protection of workers specifically in relation to the habitual use of display screen equipment, manual handling, work equipment and personal protective equipment.

Over the last few years, there have been several issues that have caused concern over the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) equipment. These include repetitive strain injury (RSI), eyestrain and related problems caused by stress and working with VDUs. Ergonomics or good design of the working environment can help to overcome these problems and enable people to work more effectively, whether centre staff or centre users. Centre managers have a responsibility to create a safe working environment for both their staff and users, though some of the issues and solutions might differ (for example, staff are likely to be more at risk of RSI than a user would be, because they will probably use computers much more than a user would). Other issues relate more generally to the working environment, such as general office safety, but can be applied easily to your centre.

Health and safety legislation and ICT

As a result of an EC Directive, UK regulations came into force directly relating to the use of display screen equipment in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations, 1992. These regulations apply to ‘an employee who habitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work’.

This would apply to centre staff. The regulations require employers to assess and reduce risk, plan work to allow breaks or changes of activity, provide information and training and provide eye tests on request, including minimum requirements for the equipment, workstation and work environment (including the screen, keyboard, software, desk and chair design and lighting).

The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) require all electrical systems and equipment to be constructed and maintained in a safe condition. Those involved in the purchasing of ICT systems and equipment need to be aware

that there are certain standards relating to the safety of ICT equipment, such as the Specification for safety of ICT equipment including electrical business equipment – IEC/EN 60 950/BS 7002. There are also guidelines set out for safety standards in offices: Electrical systems in office furniture and office screens – BS 6396.

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