Other Computer Related Hazards

Jun 5, 2000

OK, there are many other hazards on computers out there other than carpal-tunnel syndrome and bad posture. I will briefly go through various bad things that can actually happen to you (some serious, some minor) while working in or around or computers. Please don't attempt to injure your computer.First of all, find yourself a sturdy chair preferably made out of plastic or metal, and not wood, as leaning on wood while remaining in the same area can cause the wood to warp or even break of the chair. I have personally broken one wooden chair not sitting ergonomically. This can cause splinters or bruises or worse if you do not fail right or are especially weak.

If you are a hands-on computer person like me, another hazardous injury for you and your computer can be electrostatic discharge (or just plain old static shock). While working with delicate silicon or magnetic parts inside your computer case, you want to make sure you have touched something made of almost pure metal (perhaps the case cover's unpainted sign) or are wearing some form of grounding strip, which takes away the static away from you. If you feel a nasty static shock while handling hardware, guess what, you just fried a (probably expensive) piece of hardware with your bare hands. Even if you did not ground yourself and you felt no shock, there is still a small chance you let off some static which you could not feel and fried your piece of hardware.

A no-brianer to most computer folk is to not eat or drink near your computer. If you spill a coke on your computer case while it is running, you can more than likely say sayonara to most of your hardware, unless you have one of those cases that can withstand a nuclear blast (they do exist!). This si especially hazardous for laptops, where one spill will KO every piece of hardware, while one one spill around a PC may put the kibosh on your speakers, internal PC hardware, mouse, keyboard, or monitor, respectively. SO just set up a no-food no-drink perimeter around your computer, unless you like the smell of burning ozone.

While you should be especially careful while handling hardware while your computer is off, you should sure as hell never handle it when it is turned on! You could end up with a nasty (even fatal) electric shock or a very nasty burn (some computer parts, like CPUs and Graphics Cards are notorious for getting hot too quick) from it, as well as damaging your hardware while it is in use. So just avoid this at all costs.

Speaking of nasty shocks, do not fiddle around with the interior of your monitor unless you are being trained to fix them under the guidence of a trained professional or are wearing strong electric gloves, as you could get a fatal electric shock (think: bolt of lightning) form handling the interiors of the monitor. SO again, try to avoid this situation.

Finally one of the biggest causes for computer injuries and computer related injuries is carrying around the assorted parts. Monitors average anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds, and are pretty fragile, so if you drop one, you'll end up with a broken monitor, a broken foot, and maybe some shrapnel of your 17 inch monitor in your foot. Same goes with the computer case (again unless you have those special damage resistant cases), which can weigh up to 80 lbs, fully decked out. I hope you have your orthopedist on speed dial if you ever drop one of these babies on your foot. some of your hardware may survive the (literal) crash, but I doubt any important pieces (motherboard, hard drives, video and sound cards) will survive. Basically, you should avoid lifting these parts up stairs, as well as carrying them for extended periods of time. You should try using a dolly of some sort to transport these. If all else fails, try lifting with your legs and not your back, as you can dislocate a vertebrae or worse. So heed these warnings so you don't inadvertedly injure yourself or computer (unless you practice kicking field goals with spare 13 inch monitors :) ).

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