Occupational Health

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Occupational Health : 

Occupational Health

Introduction : 

Introduction India being the forerunner in the cyber world the occupational health personals is slowly awakening to this group of modern occupational diseases, which are slowly taking its roots among the white-collar professionals. An estimated 10.3 million people are suffering from diseases, which they believe was caused or made worse by their current or past work. These problems if ignored can prove debilitating and can cause crippling injuries forcing one to change one's profession. There is an urgent need to understand the dynamics of these problems and prevent it from assuming epidemic proportions. It is important to be aware of the problems and follow necessary preventive steps to check the progression of various occupational health problems.

Role of Ergonomics : 

Role of Ergonomics Computer, a hallmark of technological advancement has ushered in a new genre of occupational health problem, i.e. of computer related health problems. The present study was done in National Capital Region (NCR), Delhi to assess the magnitude of these occupational problems and role of ergonomics that is associated with computer related health problems.

IT Industry : 

IT Industry The primary service providers in IT industry are grouped into: IT software industry, IT enabled service, Internet and e-commerce. There are approximately 916 IT providers registered with National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) all over India, of which 202 IT providers are registered in NCR. The study design was cross sectional.

The Study : 

The Study The study subjects were drawn from software developers, Call center and Data entry/processing, to have an adequate representation from all sectors of IT industry.   The stratification was done on the basis of, number of working years on computers of the IT professionals. The study subjects were administered a pre designed pre tested semi structured questionnaire covering details like age, working hours, working environment, experiencing of any problem while working on computers and the type and kind of problems perceived.

The Study(contd) : 

The Study(contd) The working environment of each individual was assessed separately with respect to position of monitor, distance of monitor from the user, use of anti glare screen, type of chair, use of foot rests, position of elbow and legs, position of body, number of breaks, and manner of holding the mouse. The age of the subject varied from 20 to 54 years with mean age of 29.86 years. The males outnumbered females in the ratio 7: 3.

Results : 

Results The average working hours per day on computer in call center and software development were 9+ hrs and 8.3+ hrs, respectively. The magnitude of computer related problems were as high as 93% in the present study. 76% had visual problems 77.5% had musculoskeletal problems 35% had stress The females had more problems (96.7%) as compared to the males (91.3%). They experienced more visual and musculoskeletal problems while stress perceived was more by males.

Results(contd) : 

Results(contd) The highest morbidity (96.3%) was in software development group. The highest prevalence of visual and stress was also in software development group while musculoskeletal problems were highest in data entry workers.   Musculoskeletal problems were higher in the study subjects using inappropriate ergonomics. The observation was found to be statistically significant.

Musculoskeletal Disorder : 

Musculoskeletal Disorder MSD means a disorder of the muscles and skeleton, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs etc.

Inappropriate Ergonomics & Musculoskeletal Problems : 

Inappropriate Ergonomics & Musculoskeletal Problems It has taken hundreds of thousands of years for man to evolve into the being that he is - with an upright posture, weight bearing on only two legs and with hands which can perform many tasks that cannot be performed by the hands of other mammals. Nevertheless the range of tasks that have recently been devised for human hands, and the range of postures that man often is expected to adopt, may go way beyond what evolution could keep up with even if natural selection were still in play.

Inappropriate Ergonomics & Musculoskeletal Problems(contd) : 

Inappropriate Ergonomics & Musculoskeletal Problems(contd) Ergonomics refers to a wide array of factors in terms of self and surrounding environment. Although an individual may be following correct ergonomic variable in one thing but at the same time he may be oblivious to other aspect, which could be contributing to the problem. A recent review adds that at times important components of workstations were not adjustable or the mechanisms were too cumbersome to operate. This becomes all the more important when several workers used same furniture. The discrepancies were then met at the cost of postural adjustments. Immobilization further adds to the problems. The role of inappropriate workstation is therefore, very important for causation of musculoskeletal problems.

Common Musculoskeletal Disorders : 

Common Musculoskeletal Disorders Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can affect the body's muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Most work-related MSDs develop over time and are caused either by the work itself or by the employees' working environment.   MSDs affect the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs; less often they affect the lower limbs.   Health problems range from discomfort, minor aches and pains, to more serious medical conditions requiring time off work and even medical treatment. In more chronic cases, treatment and recovery are often unsatisfactory - the result could be permanent disability and loss of employment.

Common Musculoskeletal Disorders : 

Common Musculoskeletal Disorders Various forms of myopathy and arthritis are two specific musculoskeletal disorders.   A recent study shows that eighty-six per cent of the IT professionals reportedly suffer from musculoskeletal pain/discomfort, with the highest prevalence rate found for the neck (58%).

The Workplace & The Person : 

The Workplace & The Person

Basic Knowledge of Ergonomics : 

Basic Knowledge of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing the job, equipment, and workplace to fit the worker(as in for example ergonomic chairs and keyboards). Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.

Seating Ergonomics : 

Seating Ergonomics The best way to reduce pressure in the back is to be in a standing position. However, there are times when you need to sit. When sitting, the main part of the body weight is transferred to the seat. Some weight is also transferred to the floor, back rest, and armrests. Where the weight is transferred is the key to a good seat design. When the proper areas are not supported, sitting in a seat all day can put unwanted pressure on the back causing pain.

Seating Ergonomics(contd) : 

Seating Ergonomics(contd) The lumbar (bottom five vertebrate in the spine) needs to be supported to decrease disc pressure. Providing both a seat back that inclines backwards and has a lumbar support is critical to prevent excessive low back pressures. The combination which minimizes pressure on the lower back is having a backrest inclination of 120 degrees and a lumbar support of 5 cm. The 120 degrees inclination means the angle between the seat and the backrest should be 120 degrees. The lumbar support of 5 cm means the chair backrest supports the lumbar by sticking out 5 cm in the lower back area.

Seating Ergonomics(contd) : 

Seating Ergonomics(contd) Another key to reducing lumbar disc pressure is the use of armrests. They help by putting the force of your body not entirely on the seat and back rest, but putting some of this pressure on the armrests. Armrest needs to be adjustable in height to assure shoulders are not overstressed.

Ergonomic Tips for Computer Users : 

Ergonomic Tips for Computer Users Employees who use a desktop computer, whether at work or home, can improve their own personal ergonomics — and avoid injury — by incorporating a few basic principles.

Computer & Desk Stretches : 

Computer & Desk Stretches Sitting at a computer for long periods often causes neck and shoulder stiffness and occasionally lower back pain. Do these stretches every hour or throughout the day, or whenever you feel stiff. Also, be sure to get up and walk around the office whenever you think of it. You’ll feel better!

Slide 23: 

Over five million workers sustain overextension injuries per year.

Facts : 

Facts Almost all the subjects were not aware about the correct ergonomics and preventive aspects of these problems.

Conclusion : 

Conclusion There is a need for constant monitoring and periodic appraisal of health problems in IT professional to take appropriate remedial measures at the earliest. In relation to musculoskeletal work related ill health the principle effort must be directed at identifying the hazards and assessing the risks, and then taking steps to adapt the work place environment and work practices so as to reduce the risk and not simply to expect that human beings should be able to cope nor to place undue reliance on teaching and training, without the appropriate adaptation of the work place.