Working in IT may not seem like a hazardous duty. One TechRepublic member would disagree, however, after seriously cutting his finger working inside a computer. The injury required a trip to the hospital and forced him to miss work while recovering. Other types of injuries, such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), may be an even bigger problem for IT workers who spend hours in front of a computer screen.
Each work environment comes with its own hazards, and IT is no exception. IT managers can address those hazards by developing a safety policy specific to the IT department. A policy that details those hazards is a good way to protect employees and show them that the organization is serious about preventing workplace injuries.
We created a download that you can use to create a safety policy for your shop or organization. The download also includes a workstation checklist provided by Atlantic Mutual Insurance Co. that helps you evaluate the ergonomics of your workspaces.
Even techies need a policy
Techies may not wear steel-toed boots, but they are still prone to work-related injuries caused by late-night mousing, repetitive clicking, and hunching over a keyboard 40 or more hours a week.
The U. S. Department of Labor defines an MSD as “an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.”
Paying attention to ergonomics, factors in the workplace that minimize a worker’s discomfort, can lower the chances of acquiring an MSD. Yet a past TechRepublic poll, shown below, revealed that most respondents said their organizations do not have an ergonomic plan in place.
IT managers often have the responsibility to help protect team members from workplace injury, including carpal tunnel syndrome, eyestrain, sore backs, and other common MSDs.
These types of injuries sound benign, but they may be more serious than you think. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that “six million U. S. workers suffer nonfatal workplace injuries at an annual cost to U.S. businesses of more than $125 billion.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers reported 27,922 new cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, 73,195 cases of repetitive motion disorders, and 43,198 claims of soreness and pain among U.S. workers in 1999.
One way to address the problems caused by health and safety issues is to establish a safety policy for your IT department. To get started, download our workplace safety guidelines and ergonomic checklist. They can help you protect your employees, keep work complaints low, and save your organization money.
How safe is your organization?
Does your organization already follow a policy? If so, has it minimized work-related injuries? If not, why not? Drop us a line and tell us about it.