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    LONG GROVE, Ill., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Long hours, poor posture and inadequate equipment are contributing toward an increasing number of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) among users of video display terminals in newsrooms across the country, reports the National Loss Control Service Corp. (NATLSCO), the loss containment division of Kemper Risk Management Services (KRMS).
    NATLSCO ergonomist Ellen Rader-Smith says that one of the primary causes of RSI, also known as cumulative trauma disorders, among reporters and other computer users is poorly designed workstations that force workers to adapt to workstations not originally designed for computer equipment.
    "These situations have forced reporters and other computer users to adapt to the location of the keyboard and focus at a specific distance and height on the screen, leading to awkward or constrained postures that become an even greater concern over extended periods of time," Rader-Smith said.
    In addition, talking on the telephone while keying in pertinent story details can create stressful body postures, as the phone is cradled awkwardly by the upper back and neck muscles.
    According to Rader-Smith, proper equipment can help prevent some of these injuries.  For example, many new office chairs today are ergonomically designed, meaning that they provide good lumbar or lower back support, have adjustable height features and adjustable backrest and seatpan positions.  Also, adjustable equipment such as lower surfaces for the keyboard, height adjustable monitors, footrests, wrist rests, document holders and headsets are important.
    However, to be effective, office workers must be trained to use the ergonomic equipment and furniture so that the special features can be used to their fullest capacity.
    "Ergonomics can make a difference in office areas and may also positively affect worker productivity and morale," Rader-Smith said.
    Good posture can help reduce postural strain of the lower and upper back, reduce cervical and eye strain during screen viewing, and reduce the likelihood of stressful hand and arm postures that have been associated with RSI.
    Following are suggested postural guidelines at the keyboard:
    -- upper arms at sides
    -- elbows bent to an approximate 90-degree angle
    -- forearms parallel to the floor
    -- wrists in a neutral or "almost straight" position
    -- fingers slightly flexed and relaxed
    -- head and spine erect with chair lumbar support to the lower back
    -- eyes at approximately the same height as the top row of print on the screen
    -- thighs supported on seatpan, with one- to two-inch clearance at seat edge
    -- clearance between thighs and desk surface of one to two inches
    -- feet flat on the floor or footrest
    KRMS is a partnership between NATLSCO, Kemper Corporation's (NYSE: KEM) risk management subsidiary, and Kemper National Services, Inc., the medical loss containment subsidiary of Kemper National Insurance Companies.  KRMS offers comprehensive, fully integrated risk management services, including risk control, claims management, managed care and risk information and analysis.
    -0-         1/13/92
    /CONTACT:  Janice Kalmar, 708-540-4465, or Ira Nathanson, 708-540-4463, both of Kemper/
    (KEM) CO:  Kemper Risk Management Services ST:  Illinois IN: SU: TS -- NY049 -- 9115 01/13/92 12:56 EST
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1992

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