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Occupational Hazards Of Being A Desk Jockey

Oct 30, 2007
You might consider working in an office environment to be safer than working at a construction site. The truth is that construction sites are actually quite safe with the number of strict safety measures put in place to prevent many of the accidents that could happen. Additionally, the constant danger also leads workers to be extra cautious on construction sites. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of common desk jockeys and the environment in which they work.

Office-related medical complaints are on the rise and studies have shown they cost billions in lost production every year and up to 20 billion pounds in the UK alone. The everyday office contains a number of hazardous equipment you might not be aware of. All you have to do is just take a look around you.

Air conditioners suck moisture from the air, drying up the mucous in the lining of your nose and leaving you susceptible to any number of contagious diseases. The constantly recycled office air doesn't help matters either. With one in eight offices being found to be as dry as the Sahara desert, it's no surprise chronic dehydration is a factor in causing fatigue, headaches and loss of productivity.

If you want to know what the main causes of debilitating injuries to your body are, it's right in front of you. As innocuous as they look, the monitor you're looking at, the keyboard and the mouse you're using, and the very chair you're sitting on can cause quite a lot of pain if they are not used properly.

Positioning is very important. The monitor should be about 13 to 23 inches away from your eyes and the center of it should be 4 to 6 inches below your eye level. Improperly positioned, it can cause eyestrain, neck strain and headaches. In addition, if the monitor is positioned too far back or if the font you use is too small, it can lead you to hunch forward and jut your head forward in an effort to see better, giving you bad posture.

You should be able to reach your keyboard and mouse easily when sitting in an upright position. Your forearms should be no higher than parallel to the floor and your elbows should be close to your sides, with your shoulders relaxed and your hands hovering above the keyboard to keep your wrists straight. Awkwardly positioned hands and using only a limited range of motions can cause a variety of possible problems in the fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, elbows and shoulders. Collectively, the injuries to the muscles, tendons and nerves in these parts of your body caused by overused or repetitive motions are called Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), and every single one of them can prove to be debilitating if left untreated.

Bad posture and inadequate lumbar support can and will damage your lower back. The importance of having a properly adjusted chair, with your feet resting firmly on the floor,cannot be stressed enough. Also, sitting for too long can lead to potentially fatal blood clots that can travel to your heart, lungs or brain.

With the variety of physical hazards that exist in the office, it is advised that you take regular breaks to exercise or stretch, and rest your eyes. An innovative software called Stretch Smart can help you plan mini breaks to prevent RSI and fend off fatigue. Last but not least, it is also advised that you keep yourself hydrated constantly and try to keep yourself in good physical shape.
About the Author
Estevan Mark had to miss 2 weeks of work recently due office-induced back problems. Fortunately, he found the Stretch Smart Program ,which helped alleviate his pain without drugs. Now,he's the one asking his boss for overtime.
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