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1.10 Health and Safety In this section you must be able to:

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1 1.10 Health and Safety In this section you must be able to:
Describe the provisions of the current health and safety legislation in relation to the use of information systems. Recognise that health and safety guidelines cover the design and introduction of new software.

2 Health and Safety Issues
ICT use can lead to the following health concerns: RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury The effect of radiation from VDUs The effect of computer use on eye-sight Stress These can be improved by: Having an ergonomically designed workplace Following health and safety guidelines Using carefully designed software systems

3 Repetitive Strain Injury
A variety of disorders affecting the neck, shoulders and upper limbs Caused by repeated small movements – e.g. typing or moving the mouse – data-entry are clerks badly affected Results in numbness, tingling, aching or stiffness RSI was identified as early as the 18th century but diagnosis has proved contentious in recent times There is no medical cure other than to: Stop the repeated motion, e.g. with a change of equipment Use proper supports – e.g. wrist rests Stretch regularly and include other exercises

4 Extra Low Frequency Radiation
We are exposed to ELF radiation from: Mains electricity Computer monitors Natural sources, such as sunshine! Research has shown that there may be a link between ELF radiation and health problems A causal link between VDU use and miscarriage has not been established, although there is a positive correlation – this could be caused by other factors such as stress and poor ergonomics Radio equipment (such as mobile phones) has also been in the spotlight

5 Eyestrain Computer users spend a long time focussing on screens that are relatively close Other aggravating factors include: Glare and other improper lighting Poor work practices – insufficient rest, etc. Poorly designed equipment Improperly corrected vision (i.e. not wearing your glasses) Screens are best viewed in dim lights, but this can make paper documents difficult to see There is no evidence that there is permanent damage to the eyes

6 Sources of Stress In work environments, stress can be caused by:
Demands – such as workload, work patterns and the work environment. Control – such as how much say the person has in the way they do their work. Support – such as the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues. Relationships – such as promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour. Role – such as whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles. Change – such as how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.

7 ICT-related Sources of Stress
More specifically, ICT can in induce stress: Slow machinery – i.e. having to wait for things to log in/out, and data to be processed Inappropriate or faulty systems Lack of skills (or confidence – “will it break if I press the wrong key?”, or “I’m too old to use computers”) Information overload Work rate – performance can be monitored by software that counts key clicks Monitoring – e.g. s, web-pages, audit logs The ability to work at home – with laptops, mobile, pagers, etc. – so it feels like you’re always at work Speed of development – the pace at which things can change in the ICT industry

8 Information Overload Managers are bombarded with more information than they can handle This can produce “information anxiety” For example, even searching for “information overload” in Google finds 1,850,000 hits in 0.3s! If people are away for a few days they can have 100s of s waiting for them when they get back In a survey of ICT department heads, more than 75% reported that pressure at work caused problems in their personal lives from loss of appetite and sleep to alcohol abuse

9 Health and Safety Regulations
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 protect the health of employees Employers must Analyse workstations for safety Provide training on the use of workstation components Ensure that employees have regular breaks or changes of activity Provide regular eye tests for workstation users and pay for glasses where necessary

10 Health and Safety Regulations
Employees must Use workstations and equipment correctly, in accordance with the training provided Bring problems to the attention of their employer immediately and co-operate to correct them Manufacturers are also required to ensure that their products comply with the directive, e.g. Screens must tilt and swivel Keyboards must be separate and movable Notebook computers are not suitable for entering large amounts of data

11 Ergonomics Refers to the design and functionality of the environment. Employers must consider: Lighting – offices should be well lit with adjustable blinds to control sunlight & glare Furniture – chairs should be adjustable Work space – including heating & ventilation Noise – must be kept to a minimum Hardware – screens must tilt and swivel, etc. Software – must make tasks easier and be adaptable to the users’ needs

12 Software Quality Bad software can be extremely stressful to use, e.g.:
Badly-chosen colour schemes Incomprehensible error messages Non-standard keys or interface Badly structured menus Repeatedly failure of new software Lack of functionality – not doing what it should Unnecessary features – e.g. “Tip of the Day” or the Office Assistant tell you that you appear to be writing a letter Slow processing Can all lead to frustration. (see also 2.10 Human/Computer Interface)

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