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Computer ergonomics related health problems of Library staff: a case study at the University of Colombo

Author:

Anuja Silva

University of Colombo, LK
About Anuja
Senior Assistant Librarian
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Abstract

This paper discusses computer ergonomics related health problems caused by prolonged use of computers in the library staff of the University of Colombo. The heterogeneous population, 60 in total consisted of academic staff, administrative officers and paraprofessional staff including Senior Staff Assistants, Staff Assistants, Management Assistants and Library Information Assistants.  A stratified random sampling technique was used to draw the sample (52). A questionnaire was administered to collect data. Data were analysed with descriptive statistics and correlation test using SPSS version 23. It revealed that neck pain was the major (63.8%) musculoskeletal discomfort experienced by the respondents after prolonged period of computer usage followed by shoulder pain (59.6%) and pain in the wrist (53.2%). Pain in the eye (76.6%) was the most persistent visual discomfort experienced by the respondents followed by headaches (72.3%). Major stress-related problem was sleepiness (51.1%) while loss of concentration was identified as the prominent discomfort related to fatigue (27.7%). Prevalence of musculoskeletal discomforts such as pain in the neck and lower arm showed a positive correlation with the height of computer table (r = 0.447, P=0.002 and r = 0.403, P=0.005 respectively),  while shoulder pain indicated a weak negative correlation with wrist support (r = -0.317, P=0.03). Data on prevalence of lower arm pain depicted a weak positive correlation with height and distance of the keyboard (r = 0.384, P=0.008) and computer desk height (r = 0.403, P=0.005). As for visual discomfort symptoms developing double vision had a weak positive correlation with glare (r =0.315, P=0.031) and a weak negative correlation with lighting in the workstation (r=- 0.291, P=0.046). Headaches due to extended use of computers showed a significant relationship with view distance (P=0.003) and task breaking (P=0.033).  To avoid visual discomforts ergonomic requirement at the computer workstation should be proper lighting, anti-glare filters, and ergonomic positioning of computer monitor and regular work breaks. To reduce health problems, library management should organize workstation ergonomic training sessions to  gain knowledge and skills required to optimize the workstation configuration, and provide ergonomically safe working equipment.
How to Cite: Silva, A., 2021. Computer ergonomics related health problems of Library staff: a case study at the University of Colombo. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, 24(1), pp.57–75. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jula.v24i1.8044
Published on 19 Apr 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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