Ergonomics is the practice of changing the work environment to suit the worker. An ergonomic work station will reduce physical and mental stress and may prevent injury such as back strain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Focusing on your work station's setup will reduce your chance of injury.
The most desirable desk height is to measure from the floor to the tip of the elbow when the worker is seated in a 90º - 90º - 90º sitting position (90º bend at knees, hips and elbows with feet flat on floor). However, most office desks are fixed at 30 inches. Use adjustable chairs and keyboard trays to achieve optimum height.
The more adjustable the better. The best chairs have adjustable height, tilt, backrest, armrests and seat depth. At a minimum, up and down adjustments are essential so you can sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
Adjustable reclining features and forward tilt favors different body types
Look for five casters for quick, secure rolling access to work area
Lumbar pads support the lower back
Back rest should be high enough to support shoulder blades
The monitor should be positioned at a height so the top line of text on the screen is at eye level. Most monitors are positioned too low, forcing downward gaze and flexed neck posture which may lead to neck strain, upper back strain and/or headaches.
Monitor is directly in front of user, in line with keyboard
Prevent glare throughout the day with window blinds, light shades and/or anti-glare guards
Position monitor approximately one arm length away, no closer
Keyboards are available in a variety of configurations to meet the varying work styles and ergonomic needs of different people. If your keyboard triggers symptoms such as hand or arm discomfort, try a split, curved or rotated keyboard.
General Work Station
Of course, frequently used items should be within easy reach to reduce long stretches or twisting.
Provide headsets for frequent phone users
Use document stands for data entry work from hard copy
Vary tasks or stop and stretch every 30 minutes
In addition to proper ergonomics, remember that regular exercise will keep your body strong and is another effective way to reduce pain and injury at your work station.
If you would like more information or to have your work space evaluated, call Prevea WorkMed at (920) 405-1478.