In every workplace, Occupational Safety, and Health must always be present and felt. A contact center practitioner must know and follow the employer’s safety precautions which are also mandated by Philippine law.
Watch this episode, as I discuss the different SAFETY MEASURES that can be applied in your workplace or even at home. We will also find out and provide examples of hazards and risks in the workplace and how they can be avoided.
Contact Center employees spend most of their time on computers talking and assisting customers to help address their needs.
However, a consequence of focusing on assisting customers with their needs during their daily shift also makes them prone to some computer-related health disorders which are quite common in most call centers in the Philippines.
So what are these computer-related Health Disorders?
They are the
Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Visual or Eye Fatigue
Voice Fatigue And Hearing Fatigue
Let us now discuss the first two common health and safety concerns. As mentioned previously, call center or contact center representatives are always in front of their computers. And doing it for long periods of time may have an adverse effect on their musculoskeletal system and also their eyes.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons, and nerves. Pain is the most common symptom associated with Work-related musculoskeletal disorders. And In some cases, there may be joint stiffness, muscle tightness, redness, and swelling of the affected area.
Some workers may also experience sensations of “pins and needles,” numbness, skin color changes, and decreased sweating of the hands. For computer users, the affected areas are usually the neck, shoulder, wrist, and lower back.
For call center agents, Computer use is very demanding on the eyes since work is done at a close distance over a long period of time. This is why eye discomforts is becoming one of the most common health concerns at present.
Visual fatigue symptoms include burning eyes, blurred vision, headaches itchiness, redness, tearing or dryness, headaches, and sometimes pain in the shoulders, neck, and back. If you experience visual fatigue, it is probably caused by poor lighting, glare, poor screen resolution, poor seating posture, improper viewing distance, and dry air.
Aside from sitting and staring at your computer for a long time, call center employees also spend their time talking and listening to their customers using their headsets. With the numerous conversations they need to deal with each day, their hearing and their speaking voice could also be compromised.
Aside from the inability to speak and modulate, they could also experience pain, tension, croakiness, irritation, coughs, no vocal power, and breathing difficulties.
If they are in a noisy environment, agents usually increase the volume of their headsets, which may eventually lead to hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and ear pains. These can also be linked to nausea and headaches due to their exposure to high noise levels.
Hearing problems may also arise from sharing headsets, which increases the risk of ear infections.
Well, nobody wants to experience any injuries or accidents while working, right?
And since we are already aware of the different computer-related health disorders, the Occupational Safety and Health Center of the Philippines, together with the Department of Labor and Employment, have come up with some recommendations to promote health and safety in the workplace.
Health and Safety Tips for Computer Use
When Adjusting and customizing your workstation
- Position the top of the monitor below eye level to favor a downward gaze
- Maintain a comfortable viewing distance of about an arm’s length
- Tilt the monitor backward by about 10 to 20°
- Adjust the color, brightness, and contrast for eye comfort
- Place the monitor perpendicular to a window or light source to reduce glare
- Close the blinds or dim the lights if there is too much of a reflection or glare and
- Always keep the monitor clean.
- When doing computer work, make sure your office chair has the following features.
- An Adjustable height
- An Adjustable armrest height and splay
- Appropriate lumbar support
- Edges that are rounded
- A Five-leg base for stability
- Fabric that breathes and
- A Seat pan that fits and swivels
- You must adjust the keyboard for a comfortable posture of the hands and wrists
- Place the keyboard at approximately your seated elbow height
- The Keyboard height should allow the shoulders to be relaxed
- Your Wrist position should be straight and not bent or rotated and
- Place your mouse next to the keyboard to avoid frequent reaching
Here are some of the good work practices to prevent aches and pains
- Frequently change body positions while maintaining a neutral body posture
- Alternate between standing and sitting. This, in turn, may help prevent neck and back pains.
- Arms and hands should be relaxed when not typing.
- Hands may be placed on the lap instead of holding the fingers poised over the keys.
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