Physical work environment
Your physical work environment consists mainly of the premises you are in and the equipment that needs to be used there. This means that, depending on what you are studying, you will be exposed to different physical risks. For example, if you have to do a considerable amount of lab work, the risks are greater than for students who mostly attend lectures and do group work.
Physical health and work environment inspections are organised annually to ensure that the physical work environment is satisfactory. These are divided into the respective buildings where there are undergraduate facilities. The inspections look at issues such as fire safety, lighting, ventilation, wear and tear, and hazardous environments. The Deans of Education are responsible for the inspections, and the other invitees are the Student Safety Representatives (SAMOs) for the areas in the building, the Service Division, the Departmental Health and Safety Officers and the Central Health and Safety Engineer.
Reporting faults in the facilities
If you find things in the facilities that are broken, they need to be dealt with. In the first instance, the problem should be reported to the Service Division on telephone +46 (0)31-772 8800 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you discover an emergency that needs immediate attention – please contact the security guards on campus. They can be reached 24/7 on +46 (0)31 772 4499.
Ergonomics for studying
- The best posture ergonomically is a straight back and neck. When sitting, your legs should be at a 90-degree angle at the knees and your feet firmly on the floor. Your arms should be next to your body at a 90-degree angle at the elbows. Rest your forearms on the table. Make sure your lower back is properly supported. When you stand up and work, you also need to keep your back and neck straight. Be careful not to bend your neck too much. The head weighs about five kilos and has a substantial impact on the cervical vertebrae, potentially producing what is known as ‘computer neck’ if you sit and look down too much, which we often do when using a laptop or a tablet/smartphone. Using an external keyboard and setting the screen up on a box can be a solution.
- If you are unable to achieve good ergonomics, it is important to vary your working posture. If you are able to use a desk that is adjustable in height – do so. Otherwise, try to vary your posture in some other way. For example (when working at home), sit at a dining table for a while, sit on the sofa for a while, sit on the floor for a while, stand and work with your computer on a box on the table or on an ironing board, and maybe even lie on a bed for a while. The key to better ergonomics is variation. If you get a telephone call, walk around the room while you speak so that you get some movement as well.
Think about what works best for you and make your decisions accordingly. Listen to your body!
- If you need to speak on the telephone at the same time as you sit at your computer – use a headset or speaker. Don’t crook the telephone between your ear and shoulder as tension in the muscles can lead to problems.
- Avoid direct sunlight in your eyes or glare reflecting from the screen. Use curtains or similar or sit/stand in a position where you can avoid this.
- If you have an external mouse connected to your computer – try to change hands so that you are not using the same hand all the time.
- Do not forget to keep moving and exercising. If you are unable to go to the gym or do any other activity, go for a walk or a run.
- Take all the warning signs seriously. If you experience any problems – contact your student guidance counsellor or Head of Programme/Director of Master’s Programme.
Fire on campus
Do you know what to do if the fire alarm goes off? A fire can develop quickly and spread rapidly – especially on campuses where there are many chemicals that can speed up the blaze even more. In the film ‘Fire safety at Chalmers’ we discuss the most important things to consider regarding fire safety on campus.
Fire in a student residence
Chalmers collaborates with Brandskyddsföreningen Väst (Swedish Fire Protection Association West). They urge all students to check the evacuation information that applies to their residence. Equip yourself with a smoke alarm, fire blanket and fire extinguisher – they can be crucial in the event of a sudden fire.