This article was contributed by Cynthia Madison who works as an author at SmallBizClub.
If you work in tech, you’ve probably not given much thought to workplace injuries and occupational hazards. You may be aware of some vague detrimental effects of poor posture on your body, but you likely also believe that they’re nothing that serious. After all, you don’t work in an environment where you’re exposed to dangerous pollutants or harsh chemicals, you don’t have to operate heavy machinery or deal with unruly or uncooperative people, so what is there to worry about? Well, it turns out, quite a lot.
If you work in front of a computer screen, you have a high chance of coming down with some form of acute injury or chronic damage. And while it may not seem like much in the beginning, any kind of physical damage can impact your overall quality of life.
If left untreated, it can progress and become a serious problem, so it’s a good idea to be attentive to anything that seems out of the ordinary regarding your bodily condition. Here are some of the most common concerns you should have in mind if you work in tech, as well as what you can do to ameliorate the symptomatology or completely heal the condition.
Eye damage is arguably the most widespread and easily recognizable occupational hazard when working in tech. The blue light that emits from your screen reaches your retina and causes damage to the light-sensitive cells there. While this will usually only present with eye irritation, it can also lead to progressive macular degeneration and reduced eyesight.
Eye strain is the more commonly observed issue that, while clearly not as dangerous, is still very annoying and will affect your ability to focus on your work. The symptoms include sore, overly tired or itchy eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, as well as system signs such as headaches, as well an aching neck and shoulders. The most important thing in this situation is to make sure you take adequate breaks. Ideally, you should look away from your screen for twenty seconds every twenty minutes. You should also aim to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone or laptop in your free time. The cumulative damage will add up, and you’ll feel the effects at work.
Another common concern of the modern employee is persistent back pain. More often than not, this is the cause of inadequate posture. However, it can be difficult to educate yourself to sit correctly if you’ve spent many years sitting at your desk in an improper way. Indeed, the correct posture may seem uncomfortable to you and can leave you feeling like there’s additional pressure on your back muscles and joints.
However, you must start somewhere. It may sound like the words of your mum or gran, but sitting up straight really is important. Not only does it help resolve the stiffness and numbness associated with bad posture, but it’s also vital for your health and well-being.
When you sit upright, with your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears and your feet on a footrest if they don’t reach the ground, you make sure that your spine is in alignment and your organs don’t experience any undue pressure. Moreover, you’ll also notice that your energy levels are boosted, you’re able to focus more easily and are more productive than when you were crouching over.
Slouching in front of a computer screen and damaging your back in the process has become a matter of increased scrutiny during the pandemic. With the necessity of lockdowns came the need for remote work. However, many employees don’t have a home office equipped with ergonomic equipment and therefore spend months working from their bed or kitchen counter. This is why it’s important to have a chair that offers proper support for your back no matter your working location.
If your employer has failed to provide you with this precaution, it may count as a breach of their duty of care towards you. This means you would be entirely within your rights to seek occupational accident compensation in the UK. When you have a conversation with an attorney, you can get a better idea of what kind of proof you should bring to court to make sure your case stands a higher chance of success. You can also get a realistic estimate regarding the amount you’re likely to receive in compensation. Your physical recovery is important, but if you feel like you’ve been wrong, your peace of mind will suffer. When you get an expert to handle your case, you make sure those concerns are out of the way.
When it comes to working in tech, you’re already aware that your hands see a lot of action. Even though you’re probably not aware of it, you likely take frequent breaks throughout the day to roll your wrists and get some of the stiffness out before plunging right back to work. The damage that can occur to your upper limbs is due to the repetitive motion patterns you do when typing and clicking for hours on end each day.
A frequent condition is carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain, numbness and tingling that can extend all the way up to your elbow and cause weakness and decreased mobility. The symptoms usually get worse with time, and while some cases are easily managed with medicine, more serious forms of the disorder require surgery.
In order to avoid hand injuries, you should try and keep your wrist as straight as possible and take frequent breaks. Make sure that you let your hands pause all activity for a minute or two, as a couple of seconds are unlikely to be enough. If you tend to favor one of your hands over the other when typing, it can help to learn and switch, so the motion stress is more evenly distributed.
Occupational injuries can put a lot of strain on your body and leave you dealing with chronic pain. If you experience discomfort, it’s important to look for the cause and then change any bad habits you’ve formed. You’ll thank yourself for it.
About the author
Cynthia Madison is an author at SmallBizClub with a solid technical, business, and financial foundation. She’s responsible for providing share-worthy articles that deliver value straight to the point. Cynthia enjoys watching thought-provoking TED talks on technology advancements in her spare time. She lives a “never stop learning” life.