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Computer-related risk factors

The dangers of using computers are variable depending on the equipment used and the working environment in which they are used.

Most computer users are unlikely to suffer any of the serious injuries but you are likely to suffer temporary discomfort in using your computer if you use it for a significant amount of time. Both serious injuries and minor discomforts can be avoided by safe computer practices.

Work involving the use of VDUs should, where possible, be designed to consist of a mixture of screen-based and other work. If this is not practicable, there are a number of ways you can avoid fatigue and posture related injuries by using VDUs sensibly. Take regular breaks to change your posture, and look away from the screen frequently to allow your eyes to relax. Make sure you adjust the workstation and chair to suit you. Your forearms should be approximately horizontal with the keyboard, to avoid bending your wrists, and the top of the VDU casing should be at eye level. The keyboard only requires the lightest touch.

The following is a list of potential dangers which you should be aware of so that you can avoid them.

Eye strain and discomfort:

  • From staring at the screen for prolonged periods of time.
  • From the static build up on the Visual Display Units (VDU).
  • From a drop in blink rate.
  • From flickering, blurred or bright screens.
  • From glare of reflected lights or windows.
  • From computer screens being too close or too far away.
  • From text being too small.
  • From glasses unsuited to VDU work.


Back and Neck pain:

  • From poorly designed seating arrangements.
  • From sitting for too long in one position.
  • From badly positioned screens.


Upper Limb Disorders:

  • From a high rate of repetitive movements of the fingers.
  • From very high use of a mouse.
  • From poor design of software.
  • From poor equipment design and placement.
  • From a poor mix of work routines.



  • From poorly designed software.
  • From monitored productivity and performance.
    From high noise levels.
    From poor job design and tedium.
  • Can be reduced by taking frequent breaks from VDU work.
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • From staring at the screen for long times.
  • From work related stress.

Skin problems:

  • From the static build up on the VDU.