Computer health and safety advice
Injuries to the muscles and joints of the neck, back and arms are the most common forms of injury in the UK. With the correct equipment and working styles these risks can be controlled.
Whatever type of computer you use, you should consider two main points.
- How long are you using it at a time?
- Can you make adjustments to the place where you are using the computer, to limit your health risks?
Points to consider
- Ensure you locate the computer to avoid glare from windows or lights.
- Regularly clean your screen and ensure screen controls are adjusted to suit the user.
- Take frequent breaks and vary the work activity, where possible by physically changing position.
- Ensure that your forearms are roughly horizontal and supported when using the keyboard. Work with your wrists in a neutral position when typing. Keep your hands as relaxed as possible.
- Ensure that your screen is at the correct height, so you can look at the screen without bending your neck forward excessively.
- Perform stretch exercises on an hourly basis to reduce muscle strain and increase circulation.
- Only use laptops for short periods of time (up to an hour, unless using with peripherals such as a separate mouse, keyboard or laptop raiser).
- Whenever possible, ensure the laptop is set up as a normal workstation, by using a laptop raiser, separate keyboard and mouse.
- Limit the use of the laptop if you do not have a separate mouse, as excessive use of the trackball or glide pad may increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury.
- When transporting your laptop, try to minimise and ensure even distribution of the weight, using a rucksack or a wheeled trolley.
You will find more information in the Computing Guide section on Protecting yourself, current Computing Guide or new Computing Guide (both require login details) .