Computers are an endless source of information and entertainment… but they are also the cause of a surprisingly high number of accidents! Other than wrist pain (carpal tunnel syndrome) and eye strain, studies suggest that computer equipment is also associated with cuts, scrapes, sprains and even fractures.
From 1994 to 2006, the estimated number of computer-related injuries has undergone a seven-fold increase. Researchers estimate that during that 13-year period, nearly 80,000 Americans of all ages suffered an injury as a result of using computer equipment.
Some interesting facts:
- When the location was identified, the injury occurred at home more than nine times out of ten.
- Children under the age of five were the age group most like to be victims of these injuries.
- The most common cause of injury among the youngest (under age five) and oldest (60 and over) age groups was tripping and falling over the equipment.
- More than half of the injuries were to the extremities, consisting mainly of cuts.
- In more than a third of cases, hitting computer equipment or getting caught in cables accounted for the injury, in all age groups.
- Children most often had injuries to the head.
The percentage of people who suffer monitor-related injuries, however, has decreased since the old cathode ray tube models were replaced by liquid crystal displays, thin models that are much lighter.
The study authors believe that the actual number of computer-related injuries may be much greater, since they only indexed injuries that required an emergency room visit.
In light of these findings, here are some recommendations: 1) Place your computer and all cables out of the way to avoid tripping on them. 2) Place your monitor and computer in such a way that they cannot fall on the head of a young child who might pull on the cables. 3) Ask for help if you need to move components that are too heavy for you, and don’t let any cables hang loose – roll them up and tie them so that you don’t trip on them.
Once again, prevention is the best solution!