Towards Reducing Common Ergonomic Hazards and Alleviating Techno-Stress Associated with the Adoption of Information and Communication Technology

Towards Reducing Common Ergonomic Hazards and Alleviating Techno-Stress Associated with the Adoption of Information and Communication Technology

Ayodeji Akinlolu Agboola (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2934-9.ch018


The paper examines how to alleviate ergonomic hazard and techno-stress associated with the adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The University of Botswana was used as a case study. Personal observation and interviews were used to elicit information from the staff and students of the University. The rate of adoption of ICT was very high in the University. Most daily routines of academic and administrative duties were done through the Webct and network connection to However, a serious gap was discovered in ergonomic practices because design of workstations did not perfectly match the standard expected to facilitate functionality and usability. It is imperative for the university to adopt the provisions of occupational health and safety policy to harmonize the environment, tools, and workers to achieve maximum efficiency and optimal performance.
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Technology has become the integral part of work place and affects human resources from the operational up to the strategic levels of modern organizations. Its dramatic and liberating benefits especially as relate to the quest for fast response time, accuracy, and ability to resolve complex problems have made it attractive for gaining commanding share of market and mustering global competitive strength. Technology comes with the pressure and high performance expectations from the employees who are equipped with relevant materials. Employees are able to get connected anywhere and anytime. Offices are infested with telecommunication gadgets such as fax machines, computers and mobile phones. It is obvious that technology will continue to co-exist with human resources in the organizations.

As organizations adopt technological innovations for competitiveness in the knowledge based economy, the need to maintain an optimal balance between the utilization of the attractive features of ICT and ensuring human needs for safe and efficient working conditions have become a phenomenon in modern public and business organizations. Making the work easier and more interesting by introducing tools that are user-friendly and capable of increasing productivity are not without attendant risks and problems. Having access to these devices enables work to be done regardless of time and location but unfortunately intrude into the privacy and rest of employees and may eventually lead to stress, health challenge and low level of performance. The adoption of ICT to make work more interesting and increase productivity has thus been marked with attendant risks and problems.

Noyes (2001) discovers an increase in sick people caused by ergonomic hazards resulting from ICT equipments. People who use computers extensively could have musculoskeletal disorder and are also prone to carpal-tunnel syndrome, eyestrain and headaches. He raises concern that all these might reduce motivation and performance. Pribbenow (1990) points out that those who are glued to computers in offices could experience high level of tension, both in blood vessels and muscles. All these are the challenges that good ergonomic practices attempt to address.

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