« Back to Ergonomics 101
« Back to Ergonomics 101
A detailed checklist, by body area, of important ergonomic considerations.
Head & Eyes
- Position the computer monitor directly in front of you.
- Position the top of the monitor 2" to 3" above seated eye level so that you can view the screen without turning or tilting your head up or down. The use of Monitor Risers offer a quick and easy way to add height to your computer monitor.
- If you wear bifocals, be careful not to hold your chin too high in an effort to view the screen through the bottom portion of your glasses. This can lead to neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches. You may want to consider the use of VDT (Video Display Terminal) glasses that are used specifically when viewing the monitor. See your eye doctor.
- Take periodic eye rest breaks by focusing on a distant object at least 20 feet away for five to ten seconds.
- Position the monitor screen between 18" -28" from your eyes (approximately one arm's reach).
- Position your reference material between your monitor and keyboard or on an elevated surface close to your screen. In-line Document Holders are recommended for proper placement of source documents.
- Avoid working with your neck bent forward at an angle greater than 15 degrees.
- Minimize glare by positioning the monitor at a right angle to nearby windows. If the screen cannot be moved or tilted to eliminate glare. Consider the use of an Anti-Glare Filter to minimize glare and reflection.
- Adjust the brightness and contrast of the screen so that it is as bright as the room. Dark letters on a lighter background are easier to read, with the best contrast being black letters on a white screen. Avoid bright color combinations such as blue and red together. The use of a separate Task Light will provide light where needed for reading and writing.
- Clean your monitor screen periodically.
- Position your telephone within easy reach and consider the use of a telephone headset or speakerphone to eliminate the need to cradle the handset between you head and shoulder.
- Adjust your chair so the lumbar support touches the curve of the small of your back. Keeping the lower back in this balanced position helps align the head, neck and shoulders. Consider the use of a Back or Seat Cushion for support as needed.
- Maintain good posture when working; sit all the way back in the chair against the backrest. Keep your knees equal to, or lower than your hips with your feet supported. Lower chair height or provide a Footrest so that feet are resting comfortably and the legs are at a right angle with the knees slightly lower than the hips.
- If you don't have a fully adjustable chair, a Back or Seat Cushion can be a good alternative.
- Avoid flexing or extending your back while working on the computer.
- Stand periodically to reduce pressure on your back and improve circulation.
- Take periodic stretch breaks (1 or 2 minute breaks every 20-30 minutes and a 5 minute break every hour): Sit up straight and imagine you have a cable attached to the top of your head. Feel the cable slowly pull you up higher and higher. Holder for a few seconds. Relax and repeat three times. Stretch Break Software is available to remind you to take periodic breaks by performing a series of low-impact stretches.
Arms, Wrists, & Hands
- Adjust the keyboard height to allow an "open angle" (100° to 110°) with your arms. When positioned properly, the keyboard should be placed above laptop level to allow your arms to tilt downward while leaving your elbows at a comfortable open angle (100° to 110°). A slightly negative keyboard tilt will encourage a neutral wrist position. To avoid a positive tilt, make sure the legs on the back of the keyboard are in a lowered position. The use of a Keyboard Arm & Platform may provide the height, angle and distance adjustments needed.
- Key with your forearms parallel to the floor or angled slightly downward while keeping the wrists straight. Forearm Supports can also be used to provide postural support and freedom of movement while performing repetitive motion tasks.
- Avoid overreaching by keeping the mouse and keyboard within close reach. Center the most frequently used section of the keyboard directly in front of you. A Mouse Bridge offers a low cost solution to positioning the mouse directly over the 10-key portion of the keyboard, thereby minimizing arm extension while mousing.
- Use a good typing technique by floating your arms above the keyboard and keep your wrist straight when keying.
- If using a palm support or wrist rest, avoid planting and pivoting your wrists while keying. Wrist rests or palm supports are intended for resting between keying.
- Use a light force when striking the keys.
- Position the mouse at the same height as the keyboard and as close to the keyboard as possible. Hold the mouse with a relaxed grip and use a light touch when you click. Avoid moving the pointer with your thumb or wrist. Movement should originate at your shoulder and elbow.
- Avoid resting your wrist or forearm on the table while moving the mouse. Use your whole arm and shoulder to move the mouse, rather than pivoting at the wrist.
- Limit repetitive motions; reduce keystrokes with macros and software programs. Reduce pointing device movement with scroll locks and keystroke combinations.
- The correct chair height helps to relieve cramping and stiffness in your legs.
- Adjust chair height so that your knees are at 90 –110 degrees and hips are bent to an angle slightly more than 90 degrees. A Footrest will help you achieve this goal.
- There should be approximately 3" between the edge of the seat pan to the back of your knees. If the seat pan is too deep, circulation may be impaired.
- Remove clutter from under your desk to allow adequate legroom.
- Your feet should rest firmly on the floor with 3" - 6" of legroom between your lap and desk or keyboard tray.
- If you can not adjust your chair height and your feet do not reach the floor, use a Footrest or wedge-shaped item to support your feet.
- Remove clutter from under your desk to allow adequate feet and legroom.
- Periodic foot exercises can increase blood circulation: Slowly rotate each foot at the ankle, 3 times clockwise, then 3 times counterclockwise.
« Back to Ergonomics 101