Office Ergonomics 101

Office Ergonomics 101

OFFICE ERGONOMICS 101


    Office ergonomics can be summarized as the scientific-based customization of your workspace aimed at reducing the strain on your body and mind. Good ergonomics allow you to complete your work safely, comfortably, and effectively. 

     

    BUT WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT COMPONENTS OF A GOOD ERGONOMIC WORKSPACE DESIGN?

              

    DESK SETUP

    THE COMPUTER

    • MONITORS: 

    Computer monitors should be positioned directly in front of you and aligned with your keyboard. The screen should be right in front of or below eye level. A 20 to 30-inch distance between you and the screen is suggested. 


    Be conscious of the angle of your screen; a 10 to 20-degree tilt is recommended to help avoid glare and other issues caused by the lighting. Remember to take visual breaks every 20–30 minutes; the 20-20-20 rule is advised.  

      

    • LAPTOPS: 

    Working on a laptop can lead to more discomfort than using a monitor; they have small touchpads, compact keyboards, and poor screen height. If you are using one, consider purchasing products that mimic your monitor setup, such as laptop stand and a separate mouse and keyboard. 

     

    KEYBOARD AND MOUSE: 


    Your keyboard should be placed directly in front of you, about 4-6 inches away. The mouse should be within reach; you should be able to keep your wrists straight, arms close in front of you, and in line with your forearms. If you are having trouble maintaining this position, keyboard trays, and wrist rests can help. 

     

    Make sure that your desk is at a height that allows you to comfortably sit with your elbows at a 90-degree angle when typing.

          

    DESK ACCESSORIES: 

    Other desk accessories, such as staplers, a cell phone, papers, and notebooks, should be kept within reach. If it is not near, stand up and reach it. 

     

     

     

    THE CHAIR

    A comfortable and ergonomic chair is an essential part of your office setup. To achieve the best result, select an adjustable chair with comfortable and breathable material. It is important to customize the chair to your body's needs.

     


    LUMBAR SUPPORT:

    Good lumbar support is an essential part of your ergonomic office chair. The chair should support the natural curve of your spine. It should allow you to comfortably sit up straight and maintain a relaxed and neutral body position. 


    WIDTH AND DEPTH:

    Make sure you comfortably fit in the chair. It should be wide enough to easily fit your hips and thighs. When sitting, the chair should be deep enough to sit straight with a 2-3 finger-width gap between the back of the seat and your knee.  

     

    HEIGHT:  

    When sitting, make sure your feet rest flat on the floor. If not feasible, flat on a footrest. Your knees should be positioned at a 90-degree angle.

           

    POSTURE: 


    In general, keeping your body in a neutral position is ideal. It is best to sit up straight with relaxed shoulders; slouching and leaning forward can cause issues such as muscle and joint pain. 


    There are many different tools and adaptations to help you comfortably support an ergonomic posture. For example, you can get an extra lumbar support, a specialized seat cushion, and foot and armrests
     

    The human body is not made to sit still and stationary for extended periods. Mayo Clinic, The University of Texas Health and Wellness, and OSHA all recommend moving, walking, stretching, and standing during your workday. Using correct ergonomics and practicing these things, will help you to relieve strain, stay healthier, and help prevent work-related chronic health issues in the future. 

             

                       

                            
    CONSEQUENCES OF A POOR ERGONOMIC WORKSPACE

     

             

    There are a surprising number of health issues caused by incorrect office ergonomics. Symptoms can include joint and muscle issues, numbness or tingling of the hands, fingers, or wrists, and vision problems. If you're suffering from any of these complaints, report them to your manager and contact your doctor. You may be eligible for worker compensation.
     

      

             

    As the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill said, "The solution can be quite simple. Proper workstation setup and work practices can eliminate discomfort and even prevent it from occurring in the first place.
     

     

     

     

     

    Work Cited: 

    “Computer Workstations - Overview.” Occupational Safety and Health Administrationwww.osha.gov/computer-workstations.   

    “Divisions.” Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Commandwww.navfac.navy.mil/Divisions/Safety/Office-Ergonomics/.   

    “ETools : Computer Workstations - Positions.” Occupational Safety and Health Administrationwww.osha.gov/etools/computer-workstations/positions

    “ETools : Computer Workstations - Work Process and Recognition.” Occupational Safety and Health Administrationwww.osha.gov/etools/computer-workstations/work-process

    Government of Canada, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. “Office Ergonomics - Ergonomic Chair.” Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safetywww.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/chair.html 

    “Office Ergonomics-What It Is and Why It Matters: CMD.” CMD Ltdwww.cmd-ltd.com/advice-centre/ergonomics/office-ergonomics/#officeerg1

    “Office Ergonomics.” Environment, Health and Safety, 10 Aug. 2023, ehs.unc.edu/topics/ergonomics/office-ergonomics/ 

    “Office Ergonomics.” HealthPoint Wellnesshealthpoint.utexas.edu/wellness-resources/office-ergonomics 

    Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Office Ergonomics: Your How-to Guide.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 May 2023, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169. 

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