A website offering advice on how to prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI) and related complaints has been launched in an attempt to cut the 5.4 million sick days caused by the condition every year.
My Computer, My Way, developed by disability charity AbilityNet and backed by Microsoft, is aimed at computer users and the IT staff who support them.
It will highlight existing customisation features that can help to prevent the stresses and strains caused by repetitive movements and fatigue that can lead to RSI.
Even though computer users come in all shapes and sizes, most computers are set up to meet the needs of an 'average' person. And few people are aware that they can customise their computer to meet their individual needs.
The site lists ways to overcome problems caused by the display, from struggling to see the text to getting sore eyes through overuse. It suggests adjusting the keyboard and mouse to reduce discomfort and to help make fewer mistakes when typing.
AbilityNet director of operations, David Banes, told vnunet.com that reluctance on the part of IT managers to allow users to change their workstation settings was hampering progress.
"We're trying to get people to understand that if they use a computer regularly there's a huge amount that you can do to take control of the machine in terms of its look and feel rather than accepting the default settings," he said.
"General awareness of what's available for little or no money is a big issue. This is about putting the features that have been around for years in a way that's easy to follow.
"We would like to see employers making individual assessments part of the induction process."
Employees who perform keyboard tasks for at least six hours every day increase the risk of potential work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
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