Safety First

It is my duty to ensure that all members of the band and entourage are aware of the health and safety implications of using computers. I have decided to design a simple poster to illustrate to staff the do’s and don’t of using a computer.

Research

I did some research into the major health issues associated with the use of computers. I decided to use the internet to do this. There are many websites on the internet and so to cut down my search, I used a Boolean search, which is using words such as ‘and’, ‘not’ and ‘or’. Using ‘+’, and other operations would also help me to find the websites I needed e.g. ‘computer + health and safety’. By typing this in, I found many useful websites. The main, understandable websites I found were:

* www.learninglink.ac.uk/keepfit/

* www.utoronto.ca/safety/ergoweb/vdt.html

* www.intranet.westminster.org.uk/help/general/Health_Safety/H_S.asp

* www.ehs.ohio-state.edu/index.asp?PAGE=ohse.computer

* www.healthycomputing.com/office/setup

I also used www.waverley.gov.uk/environment/has_computer.asp which proved to be a very useful website.

Major Health and Safety Issues Associated with the Use of Computers

From looking at these websites, I got some ideas of the safety issues that should be considered when using a computer and I was then able to make up some of my own safety precautions for using a computer. I decided to include the following:

* Practice blinking regularly

* Rest your eyes during breaks

* Take frequent posture breaks

* Occasionally stop and stretch at your desk

* Check that direct light is good enough for you to read the information on the screen without straining you eyes.

* Vary the distance of the screen from your eyes.

* Angle screen to reduce glare

* Keep the neck and shoulders relaxed and the elbows in close to the waist.

* Ensure that the backrest of the chair is adjusted to provide good support, particularly for the curve of the lower back (lumbar area).

* Position the screen directly in front of you and tilt it so it is facing you

* Tilt the keyboard using the small feet at the back, so you can type you’re your wrists straight

* Rest your wrists on the desk when not typing

* Do not grip the mouse tightly

* Keep the neck and shoulders relaxed

* Adjust the chairs height and angle

* Keep your feet vertical

Deciding upon a software to use

I chose to use the package Microsoft Publisher rather than Microsoft Word (word processor). MS Publisher can be used to produce pages that combine text with graphics and this makes it ideal for the production of my poster. However before choosing to use MS Publisher, I considered using Microsoft Word as it can insert pictures and WordArt and this would be useful for the production of my poster. However, I soon realised that Word Processor is mainly a type of software used for writing text e.g. letters and stories.

Word Processor also pushes the text out of the way when a picture is inserted. Comparing MS publisher to Word clearly showed me that MS Publisher was a more suitable software. Using MS publisher has many advantages like having more control over the way in which text is laid out compared with an ordinary word processor. Pictures and text boxes can be laid out extremely accurately, giving a professional look to my poster. Therefore, using this software for my poster is ideal and MS Publisher proved to have many advantages in producing my poster.

Format of posters

Now that I had done some research and found some information to put into my poster, I looked at posters on walls to get a rough idea of how big my poster should be, what it should look like and how much information should be included. I realised that most of them had big, eye-catching titles and very little writing. Most of them had pictures and diagrams and information was put in short sentences. Some posters had a labelled picture. I realised that colour is a great way to enhance a poster, draw someone’s attention and to make a poster look more attractive. People will not read a lot of text, and certainly won’t read standard journal-sized text, and so a big font must be used for my poster. My poster also needs to be understandable, but most of all it needed to be attention-grabbing. In order for my audience to look at my poster in detail, it has to be eye-catching and noticeable.

I decided to make a rough plan of my poster first, on an A4 piece of paper.

Creating My Poster

I opened Microsoft Publisher and realised that it did not have a poster option and therefore I had to consider using a different layout or a ‘Quick Publication’. I browsed around the MS Publisher options and realised that it did have a poster option on the ‘Blank Publications’ section. I decided to use this option to create my poster. This option allowed my poster to be more than one A4 page. In fact, altogether it would be 60cm by 45cm; this in total is nine pages. I started to make my poster by looking at my first draft. I used the measurements tool palette to place the text boxes in a position that I wanted. This was a useful advantage of MS Publisher and made my poster look professional.

Modifications

When I had completed my poster, I printed it off and showed it to a friend, who critically appraised my work. I made the following adjustments:

* My friend had pointed out that my title could be bigger and bold so that it was more eye-catching.

* My friend pointed out that my poster could be much more exciting by adding a background, and more colour. Therefore, I added a background.

* My friend also pointed out that my poster was too plain and ‘dull’. He also told me that there were too many white bits on my poster, and more colour was needed. Therefore, I chose to fill the title’s background yellow and the other text boxes light purple.

Overall, all these modifications contributed to the overall professional manner of my poster, making it eye-catching and bright. I then printed out the last and final version of my poster, which came out to be in total, nine pages. All these pages contained tiles, which made it easy to cut and stick these pages together, so that all the words and all the pictures joined up accurately. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to cut and stick these pictures together, however I still think my poster is big, eye-catching and easy to understand.

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