Living with the internet: learning online
Living with the internet: learning online

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Living with the internet: learning online

1.1.5 Avoiding hazards

If you are aware of potential risks you can take sensible action to reduce them, so do think about what might be difficult or even dangerous in what you are about to do before you do it.

Lifting and moving equipment

Lifting and moving things that are awkward and heavy may result in back injuries, so take care when lifting.

If you have any existing injuries, be particularly careful to avoid doing anything that might make them worse.

Some simple tips:

  • Bend your legs rather than your back so that you keep your back straight and take the weight with your legs.

  • Avoid twisting or bending at the same time as lifting.

  • Hold things close to your body when lifting. For example, it is not a good idea to stretch to the back of a desk to move a monitor, but better to move round to the back of the desk to move it.

  • Get someone to help you if possible; it is generally much easier for two people to move things.

Safety with electrical equipment

Electrical equipment can get hot and monitors (like televisions) have been known on occasion to burst into flames.

It makes sense to check that your computer is switched off at night and unplugged – especially the monitor.

Try to keep the cables (mains power and other computer leads) from getting under carpets or piles of paper because if a cable gets very hot it could start a fire.

It is worth unplugging your computer and modem line when there are thunderstorms in the vicinity, as lightning strikes on phone lines can do damage to a computer that is left plugged in.

Water and electricity do not mix, so avoid putting drinks where they could spill into your computer, and especially your monitor.

Avoiding repetitive strain injury

RSI (repetitive strain injury) is a condition that may be linked to long periods of work at computers. To help avoid this, make sure that your workstation (computer, chair and desk) is set up correctly and take frequent breaks in which you exercise or stretch. There are a number of websites designed to help you use your personal computer safely and comfortably, for example IBM's Healthy Computing site.

An alarm clock or kitchen timer with a loud ring, placed out of your reach when seated at the computer, can be a very effective reminder to take a break.

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