Ergonomics Injuries Mount Among Tech Workers
Technology workers as young as 20 to 30 years old "face crippling injuries" from long hours spent in an environment without sufficient ergonomics training, a USA Today business section cover story reports. Lack of knowledge about the risks of repetitive-motion injuries and of preventive measures contribute to the problem, as younger workers -- who may think they're "immune" to developing injuries -- put in 50- to 60-hour work weeks, with much of that time spent on the computer. At the same time, small start-up firms attempting to keep costs low often go without ergonomics consultant input when designing the workplace. Because the surge in young technology workers happened so quickly, little research exists on the subject, and some researchers don't believe that the link between workplace tasks and ergonomic injuries has been proven. Others suggest that these ailments may be psychological in nature or prompted by factors outside of work. However, several experts call the frequency of such injuries -- including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and tennis elbow -- among young tech workers "troubling." In response to growing concerns, some high-tech firms have joined monthly "ergonomic round tables" to discuss solutions to repetitive-motion injury problems and have implemented "first-of-a-kind" programs to prevent injuries. For example, Intel has begun rebuilding offices to make them "ergonomically customized," and Hewlett-Packard now requires every employee who works more than two hours a day on the computer to attend ergonomics information training every three years (Armour, USA Today, 2/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.