Computer users are afflicted with more than back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. People are also winding up in emergency rooms with cuts, bruises, sprains and fractures caused by computers and computer accessories. It’s reported that more than 90% of the injuries occur at home. Researchers, in a study in the July issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, estimate that in 2006 there were 9,279 emergency room visits for computer-related injuries, up from 1,267 in 1994. The increase is more than double the increase in home computer ownership in those years. The data used in the study came from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is managed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Over the 13-year study period, more than 78,000 people ages one month to 89 years, were treated in emergency rooms for acute computer-related injuries. More than half of the injuries happened when people were moving their computers. The monitor was the part of the computer most commonly involved. Injuries peaked in 2003, when sales of LCD monitors first exceeded those of monitors with cathode ray tubes. The authors suggest that the lighter monitors are causing fewer injuries. The study’s senior author, Lara B. McKenzie, of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, observed:
Children under five had the highest overall injury rate as well as the greatest injury rate increase of any group. Computer cases have sharp edges, wires can be electrical or tripping hazards, and computer chairs are too big for young children, which provides opportunities for falls. We have to look at the computer work station as an area we can make safe for children.
I really had never considered computers to be a source of personal injuries to users. This report was most enlightening and made me realize there are safety risks for computer users.
Source: New York Times
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