Technology is advancing with devices being designed more compact and for hand-held use. Some items aren’t ergonomically friendly. Long–term routine can cause users to sustain a neck inflexion position, thus resulting in an injury.
Are your workers complaining about their neck being sore, strained, stiff, or have striking pain in their shoulder blades? If they are using a small device such as a smartphone, notebook or tablet for their task role for long periods, these pain warnings are the body signalling to adjust the current posture as physical stress is being placed on the neck.
This symptom is called Tech Neck and it is a coined term for neck pain caused by the neck being strained, mainly due to technology use.
If your neck is flexed 45 degrees or at a greater angle and you’re hunching forward whilst looking at a screen for a prolonged time, this posture position will be uncomfortable for the body. The upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles will be stretched and may cause harm. Whilst you are reading this article how’s your posture?
So, in what way can we prevent Teck Neck and provide an ergonomically sound usage of the device for the task?
Encourage your workers to try these preventative strategies when using a device that requires a downward head tilt motion such as a tablet, smartphone, notebook, laptop, etc.
- Move and alter your position every 10 minutes.
- Take micro-breaks, get up and take a quick walk to another room.
- Adjust the screen to eye level.
- Connect a wireless keyboard, mouse, or stylus pen to the device to inject more motion of the task with head and limb movement.
- When texting avoid a sustained position for too long.
- Stretch your neck with nose-to-arm stretches.
- Have a workplace ergonomics assessment of your workstation.
Safe Work Australia recorded 12% of worker’s compensation claims in 2016-17 were for injury to the neck and shoulder. To prevent future claims and injury to your workers adopt the above preventative strategies to avoid Tech Neck in your workforce.