Articles

Identity Theft

Stealing your name and your money

by Richard Carr, Amegy Bank

Identity fraud is digging deep into consumer's pockets - millions of dollars were lost in the past year by financial institutions across the country. The perpetrator may use a variety of tactics to drain your finances: posing as a loan officer and ordering your credit report (which lists account numbers); 'shoulder surfing' at the ATM or phone booth to get your PIN code; 'dumpster diving' in trash bins for unshredded credit applications, canceled checks or other bank records; or, until recently, notifying the Postal Service to redirect your mail to the address of choice, such as a mail drop, which allows anonymity.

It may be months before you're aware you're a victim. But when you get turned down for a mortgage on your dream house because you've got a bad credit rating and you know you've paid the bills, beware: the ID thief may have struck again.

Protecting yourself and your company against identy theft in a society that functions by the transfer of electronic information, has never been more important than it is today. Recovery is more difficult than most believe. Learn how you can better protect yourself and the assets of the company from Identity Theft.

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The Ergonomic Edge

by Sue Catterall

The previous Ergonomic Edge column outlined some good reasons for providing ergonomic sit-to-stand capability for workers who sit for several hours each day. Acquisitions, growth, reorganizations, low unemployment - all factors that contribute to churn - are other good reasons to provide user adjustability in the work environment. All across the U.S., from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley, high-tech workers - knee-deep in monitors, input devices, and mounds of reference materials - are observed hunched over in hand-me-down workstations that simply don't fit.

The challenge for facility managers is to keep up with the demands of a volatile industry, where teams expand and contract on a regular basis. Even if it were possible to keep up with maintenance adjustments, the disruption associated with making changes to the workstation (shutting down, disconnecting cables, moving reference materials, etc.) deters workers from requesting adjustments to their work environment. When the workstation is occupied by more than one worker (due to high churn, shift work, or even job sharing), greater ranges of user adjustability make good fiscal sense as well as good ergonomic sense.

Below are some options that provide user adjustability in the work environment.

Height-adjustable tables and work surfaces accommodate multiple users by allowing each worker to position the work surface at an optimal height. Bilevel Tables that adjust above and below the input platform are another option but may not be ideal when workers frequently refer to manuals, binders, or other reference materials. Often, when people think of providing adjustability, they think of input platforms. But, remember that a keyboard tray may distance the worker 12 inches or more from the work surface. A word of caution: If tools and reference materials are used frequently, keyboard trays may cause workers to sit forward and extend their reach. Keyboard trays can be a great cost-effective solution, but consider the tools and materials required to perform the task before prescribing such a solution.

Monitor supports can provide another form of adjustability in high-churn environments. The support platform should accommodate the worker's horizontal line of sight (eye height) when seated, allowing the worker to assume a relaxed head/neck posture. Monitor height is highly individual and dependent on many factors, including the worker's individual preference, lighting conditions, task performed, and size of the monitor.

Seating in multioccupancy environments should include active fit adjustments to accommodate many different-sized workers. Adjustments in seat height, seat depth, backrest or lumbar height, and backrest angle are all desirable features. Additionally, people whose jobs involve long episodes of keying would benefit from chair armrests with a lot of adjustability. Ideally, users would have the ability to select a chair from a variety of chair types. The goal is to avoid awkward torso postures, extended wrists and elevated shoulders, and other possible risk factors. Workers who do not or cannot make adjustments often resort to awkward postures, putting them at risk for developing a cumulative trauma disorder.

Sue Catterall, Sue.cdo@ix.netcom.com.

The Ergonomic Edge is a reprint from the Herman Miller newsletter. This article was submitted by Mollie Ellerkamp.