iPads and Laptops
The iPad is a tablet computer for consumption of media such as books, movies, music, games and for general web and email access.
Laptops are portable computers designed to be transported and used in a wide variety of settings. Ideally a laptop should be used at an appropriately set up workstation.
Due to their portable nature, a range of hazards need to be addressed when considering the safe use of both an iPad and a laptop:
- Ergonomic issues such as body posture, frequency and method of use;
- Manual handling issues relating to transport and handling;
- Electrical hazards;
- Noise; and
- Trip hazards associated with the electrical cord.
It is important to make sure that good body posture is maintained when using an iPad or laptop as this is the key factor in minimising the risk of injury.
Using the iPad/laptop in settings where the iPad/laptop is not appropriately set up (e.g. whilst travelling or sitting on a couch) will increase the risk of injury.
Where/when would these issues be relevant
iPad and laptop computers can be used in a wide variety of settings such as:
- At the school/workplace (e.g. at a workstation, in the library, classroom or meeting room);
- At home (e.g. at the kitchen table, coffee table or couch); and
- Whilst travelling in the passenger seat of a car or on the train.
Using an iPad in awkward postures such as sitting or lying prone on the floor or using the iPad horizontally on a desk should be avoided.
Using a laptop in awkward postures such as sitting or lying prone on the floor or using the laptop whilst resting it on your knees should be avoided.
What do you need to do?
- Where possible ensure that the workstation is appropriately set up (Refer to DEECD Workstation Ergonomic Risk Assessment Form);
- Where iPad/laptop usage exceeds 30 minutes of continual work, take short rest breaks of 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of work, and use stretching techniques to alleviate muscle soreness (refer to WorkSafe: "Officewise - a guide to health and safety in the office" publication);
- Ensure that lighting is appropriate and reflections and sun glare do not cause a visual disturbance in work areas;
- Enlarge the print or change the contrast or brightness for better viewing;
- Maintain a comfortable viewing distance from your laptop/iPad screen - about 450-700mm;
- Tilt the screen of the laptop so that it is perpendicular to your line of sight;
- Wherever possible, use suitable computer aids such as a iPad dock, laptop stand/cradle, an external keyboard, an external monitor, an external mouse, documents holders etc; and
- Ensure that cables do not cause a trip hazard;
- Attempt to keep sound levels from earphones to a minimum to prevent excessive noise exposure;
- Attempt to keep elbows close to the body whilst operating the iPad/laptop;
- Keep your head and neck in a relaxed posture and avoid excessive neck flexion or rotation;
- Ensure that the iPad/laptop is turned off when not in use and is appropriately stored;
- Conduct regular electrical testing and tagging of the electrical cords; and
- Ensure that a suitable carry-case or bag is used when transporting.
When using laptop computer charging trolleys, be aware that unplugging the trolley when it is still turned on may result in an electric shock.
Please ensure that all electrical installations have been competently installed and checked by a licensed electrician.
Legislation, Guidance and Codes of Practice
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
Electrical Safety Act 1998
AS 1680.2.2 - 1994 Interior Lighting
AS/NZS 3760:2003 In service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment
Electrical Equipment Procedure (PDF - 161Kb)
Electrical Equipment Register (Word - 433Kb)
Manual Handling Procedure (PDF - 190Kb)
Ergonomics Assessment Procedure (PDF - 172Kb)
Workstation Ergonomic Risk Assessment Form (PDF - 254Kb)
iPad Risk Management Form (Word - 916Kb)
DEECD OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715
DEECD Regional OHS/WorkSafe Advisors
WorkSafe "Officewise- a guide to health and safety in the office"