Laptop health and safety
Risks associated with laptop use
With desk top computers you position the top of your monitor around eye level and place your keyboard at the same level as the elbows. With a laptop, however, the keyboard and monitor are as one, so you can’t adjust their positions independently; in addition, all components are very close together.
Laptop use is a major source of musculoskeletal problems. Familiarise yourself with our simple guidelines to minimise risks to yourself and others.
- The size and design of the laptop means that, if used wrongly, users can experience discomfort. Using a laptop on its own for any length of time will inevitably cause poor posture which in turn is likely to lead to neck, shoulder, back pain or eye strain.
- Placing the laptop on a low surface for comfortable arm positioning means that you have to tilt your neck forward to view the screen. Raising the screen to an acceptable level means that your hands are now having to reach too high. Many laptops also feature keys that are smaller than those found on traditional keyboards, a potential cause of hand and finger pain.
- Screens, typically smaller than the standard desktop, mean you often have to view the same amount of information in a smaller space.
- Since the screen is attached to the keyboard it is harder to adjust to compensate for glare. Be aware that eyestrain can result where poor lighting levels are present.
- The weight of a laptop can place stress and strain on your shoulders, especially where you need to carry spare batteries etc. Be sensible and don't overload your bag.
- Remember when connecting your laptop to the mains that the cables can be the cause of trips and falls.