We have entered into a modern age of new communication devices, micro-technologies and even nanotechnologies. This article identifies a new challenge that has arisen from the heat of this technological onrush – the ergonomic challenges that face the technology user.

To begin with, many users find themselves becoming stressed and intimidated by the new levels of almost constant contact engendered by the communication infrastructures currently being built by companies. Then there are repetitive motion injuries like “BlackBerry thumbs” and visual ergonomic risks associated with looking at their small screens under poor lighting conditions.

After a thorough discussion of current tech-based ergonomic concerns the article segues into the potential health problems associated with coming nanotechnologies and the need to develop safeguards to protect workers from the inevitable buildup of nanoparticles in the workplace.

Organizations like the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are currently concluding studies but it will be years before any long-term effects are identified. This article calls for more attention to risk factors of new technologies and additional efforts to create “appropriate training modalities” for learning new technologies.

Source: Cynthia Roth, Occupational Hazards (Cleveland), Aug 2007

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