origin of life may still be a question mark for the intelligentsia; well,
whatever is the answer, the human body remained the same ever since its first
major release 'Adam'! On the other hand, computers evolve(d) faster than
anything else. While one of the earliest models was aptly titled 'Colossus',
these days witness the war between 8.8 mm and 8.6 mm tablets! Unfortunately,
the same old human model is now struggling to suit itself to the needs of
handling these devices. Let me make this simple, I am talking about ergonomics!
keeps failing to grab international attention; it remains as a silent
understanding. Health problems generated by computer usage are many, and sadly
the facts remain blurred by the high-paced life. A significant proportion of
the global population is involved with computers overtime. Software professionals may spend
more than seven hours per day in front of a laptop or a desktop. The
companies employing them, most often, fail to provide a healthy environment
that does not compromise health.
Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology published the results of a
case study conducted in SAP Lab Gurgaon, India in December 2010. The topic was
'Studies on Health Problems of Software
People'. The various health problems of the employers working at SAP Lab
Gurgaon was studied on the basis of answers received from the employees for a
given questionnaire. It was interesting to find that nearly cent percent
employees answered 'yes' when asked if they have any health problems. Almost
all were aware of the work area and the factors which affect their health. However,
they were helpless owing to the work demand. A minor 1% did not face any health
problems since they took precautionary measures.
was not shocking to find that the work profiles of these employees demanded
more than 7 hours of computer use per day. All employees frequently used
laptops at home, while some preferred desktop workstations to laptops. All
responses indicated the use of laptops at workplaces.
of the employees (78%) faced problems in their back; the back thus appears to
be the most severely affected part of the body. Only 26% reported problems in
the neck. "Pain
or aching in wrists, forearms, elbows, neck, or back followed by discomfort" was the commonest symptom; more than 82% of the employees reported
having it. About 60% reported "blurred or double vision". "Reduced grip
strength in the hand" was the least faced problem.
About 70% of the
employees identified "poor workplace set-up" as a cause of their problems. The
employees' feedback showed that the company had hardly addressed their health
problems. About 91% responded that company never took a step to resolve any of
A large number of employees (69.57) admitted that they were ignorant of
the availability of computer accessories that help in preventing the health
problems. Among the meagre number of workers who were aware of the existence of
such accessories (a total of seven employees), just two knew that there were "best-fit" computer mouse designs and
document holders. Only four
knew about Adjustable keyboard trays and Monitor arms.
should however, be noted that some of the responses in the study were obtained
from a very small group of employees, and thus may not reflect the views of all
the employees of the company.
age of revolutions cannot afford to stay longer in the dark shades of
ignorance. The demands for greater perspiration keep on skyrocketing, and
unless we create a better healthy working environment, our age old 'human
model' would succumb to the pressure. Let the media come up with a global
advertising campaign for better ergonomics.
Reference: Studies on Health problems
of Software People; Geeta Kumari et al; International Journal of Innovation,
Management and Technology.