Most people are familiar with what deposition court reporters do. As guardians of the record, they transcribe the words spoken during a deposition into a written form that can be used as litigation progresses. Unlike logging or roofing, court reporting does not immediately come to mind as a profession with inherent risks. Yet deposition court reporters, because of heavy equipment, irregular mealtimes, and sedentary work environments, can face real health problems. Being mindful is always the key to making changes, so here are some health tips for deposition court reporters.
Deposition court reporters carry a LOT of equipment to deposition sites. One of our resident Midlands court reporters listed the items she carries to every deposition: computer, Diamante court reporting machine, proofreading (in the event there’s down time, which is rare), an iPad in its protective case, power cords, general office supplies for marking deposition exhibits, and a tripod. These items are carried in a heavy, protective case. When asked to weigh their bags, our court reporters gave us measurements of between 25 and 44 pounds. How do court reporters protect their back health while toting so much weight?
Answer: Don’t tote it. Wheelie cases for deposition court reporters are readily available, which make moving equipment around the deposition site easy. In situations where the equipment must be lifted and carried, however, follow these steps from the University of California at San Diego:
1. Hug the load.
2. Tuck your tailbone.
3. Bend your knees.
4. Lift and carry the load.
5. Put the load down.
This may be awkward while in business attire, but it’s much less awkward than being traction.
Meal planning can be difficult for a deposition court reporter, as breaks may be short, few, and far between. It’s easy to default to fast food, but a high salt, high fat diet only exacerbates the conditions brought about by so much sitting. Consider packing a bento box, a food container with small compartments to allow for portion control and variety. Fruit, nuts, lean protein, and whole grain crackers with keep you satisfied throughout a long day of deposition testimony, but if you want something more creative, the folks at EatingWell Magazine have put together some great suggestions for bento-box meals and snacks.
One of the biggest threats to the health of deposition court reporters is working in front of a screen. It is very easy to let your posture go and slouch over the keyboard, leading to an aching neck, back, and shoulders. The Cleveland Clinic has developed a list of suggestions to maintain a good sitting position when working. They include:
According to the Mayo Clinic, long hours of sitting may contribute to obesity, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, working from a standing position is not possible when a deposition court reporter is actually in the deposition room. However, when preparing the transcript for production, a court reporter may want to consider using a standing desk at home or in the office. A standing desk allows the user to raise or lower components of the work station, thus allowing the use to alternate between sitting and standing. By standing for work when appropriate, the deposition court reporter may not only reduce upper back and neck pain but, according to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, increase life expectancy.
CompuScripts understands the obstacles faced by deposition court reporters because our company was founded by one! Deborah Dusseljee, RPR, CRC, CLR, began her career as a court reporter in 1984 and started CompuScripts in 1993. If you’re a court reporter who is looking for new assignments, contact us for details.