PCs Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

April 2000
by Reid Goldsborough

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Unless one happens to drop on your head while you’re
walking on the sidewalk, personal computers can’t kill you.
But they can hurt you pretty badly.

According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA), nearly 2 million people suffer work-related musculoskeletal
disorders every year. This includes repetitive strain injuries
caused by computer use. In fact I’ve experienced my own fair
share of computer-related maladies caused by spending long hours
evaluating hardware, software, and Web sites; reading online
publications; exchanging e-mail; and participating in online

OSHA may have flip-flopped recently on whether employers are
responsible for the ergonomic health of PC-using employees who work
in home offices—first ruling they were, then backing off. But
the fact remains that if you spend any amount of time with a PC,
regardless of where you work (or play), it behooves you to give some
thought to how you do so.

“You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where
you can’t get yourself dressed, feed yourself, or hug your
children,” says Deborah Quilter, author of The Repetitive
Strain Injury Recovery Book.


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