Computer work and RSI

Working too long at a computer can result in physical problems.

How do you get RSI?

 These problems arise due to physical strain. Strain is caused by repeated movements, bad posture or by continuously being in the same position. If your body cannot adequately recover, you can develop problems in your hand, wrist, shoulder and neck. This is called RSI.

How can you prevent RSI?

The first thing that often comes to mind is a properly (ergonomically) arranged work space, but that alone is no guarantee for preventing RSI. Other important factors also play a role in developing RSI, such as the type of work, your own behaviour and work stress. Using the 5W model, these factors can be divided into five groups.

Causes of RSI

A well-arranged workspace ensures that you sit at the computer in the correct position. How high should the surface of your desk, monitor, keyboard be, how do you arrange everything properly, etc.? In this short film you can see how you can set up your workspace properly.

Work tasks
Vary your tasks: monotonous tasks result in a unbalanced workload. Also, alternate as much as possible between the keyboard and the mouse: make use of hotkeys.

Working hours
Give your body time to recover. Take regular breaks or use break-reminder software.

Set priorities. Stress can increase your risk of RSI.

Working attitude
Work healthily, with good teamwork with co-workers, appreciation, satisfaction and development.

Worker health and safety catalogue

The subcatalogue on arm, neck and shoulder problems  of the worker health and safety catalogue for universities provides information for staff and students on RSI prevention, educational material and resources for identifying RSI risks.

More information

For questions about RSI and the set-up of your workspace, you can go to your prevention officer in your organisation.

Last Modified: 12-02-2015