A brief nugget of OHS advice for librarians and some wittering about cyborgs

In my experience two things are omnipresent in libraries: printing issues and OHS concerns. I’ve come to regard a print station’s inevitable eccentricities as being analogous to the weather: we can batten down the hatches but we can’t actually stop it from raining [1]. With this in mind I came to terms with the printing-issues-issue years ago, as resisting it seemed to be making my day more Sisyphean than was strictly necessary.

Me before I worked through the Kübler-Ross model wrt to print station.

Me before I worked through the Kübler-Ross model wrt to the print station

But OHS concerns – these are not something to be complacent about. Most of the librarians I’ve worked with who’ve been librarianing for 10+ years have a chronic injury relating to shelving, typing, sitting or some other kind of manual handling. Contrary to what is generally assumed (by people which included me, before I got my first circ job), library work can be physically demanding. In addition to carrying the solemn ideological weight of our mission as librarians, books and whatnot are heavy, repetitive actions are common and as we’ve been hearing for a while now, sitting is the new smoking.

The Borg Queen demonstrates a common OHSE issue for librarians

The Borg Queen demonstrates a common OHSE issue faced by librarians

It’s this last point in particular which I’ve been considering how to address in my own library. I came across a sensible list of suggestions to sit less without a standing desk – we have one here at my library, but it’s not practical for all staff to use it, and we’d need to take turns. One of the suggestions – using apps and wearable tech to combat excessive sitting – does indulge my latent fantasy of slipping more Borg cosplay into my workday wardrobe, but if that’s the idea then I feel my money is better spent on the type of jewellery that says “please bring up William Gibson. If you don’t, I probably will anyway.” (yes this sort of thing).

This is the kind of corporate power dressing I wholeheartedly endorse. Via DominicElvinDesign on Etsy (click for link)

This is the kind of corporate power dressing I wholeheartedly endorse. It’s 2014, for goodness sake. Via DominicElvinDesign on Etsy (click for link)

This got me thinking about a less ostentatious alternative, and decided that scheduling an alert on my PC would be a good start. Here are some easy to follow instructions for doing it (in Windows 7). I’ll be sharing this with my library, and will be interested to see whether or not others find it useful.

I’m finding my hourly reminder motivating enough.

scully

See: Bad Blood S05E12. Because poor OHSE can mess your career up even more efficiently than Mulder wrecked Scully’s

[1]Actually, thinking on it, a functional weather machine seems about as plausible as a print station which never malfunctions

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