Suggestions for computer workstation ergonomics. Setting up your office using ergonomic considerations is important to protect your health. Most ergonomic experts agree on certain ergonomic designs that will further your well being and productivity. However, every computer workstation and its user is different, and if you have problems implementing some of the following recommendations you should seek professional advice.
Ergonomic design and correct computer posture are essential for good computer workstation ergonomics. Learn how to maintain good posture at an ergonomic workstation and there's a good chance you'll computer-related injury. The following recommendations have been adapted from CUErgo, Professor Alan Hedge, and other ergonomic sources.
Ergonomic computer furniture and accessories from ergoindemand.com assist you in creating a more healthy and comfortable workstation. Adjustable LCD monitor arms, ergonomic keyboard trays, arm rests and wrist rests allow healthy positioning. Height and tilt adjustable computer workstations and laptop stands that can be used in sit stand position are worthwhile investments for your health and productivity.
How will the computer be used - Do you require an ergonomic design for one user/Multiple user - hours/day?
What kind of computer workstation ergonomics will be used for desk top or laptop computer?
What furniture will you use - work surface, keyboard tray?
You should consider attaching a keyboard/mouse tray system to your work surface. Choose a system that is height adjustable, that allows you to tilt the keyboard down away from you slightly (negative tilt) for better wrist posture. This allows you to use the mouse with your upper arms relaxed and as close to the body as possible, and with your wrist in a comfortable and neutral position.
What chair will be used?
Choose a comfortable chair for the user to sit in. It should be comfortable to sit on, have a good backrest that provides lumbar support, and also offer a means to adjust both the height and the tilt of the backrest. Studies show that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100-110 degrees NOT the upright 90 degree posture that is often portrayed. When the user sets the chair's backrest to the recommended reclined posture the chair starts to work for the body and there are significant decreases in postural muscle activity and intervertebral disc pressure in the lumbar spine. Erect sitting is not relaxed, but sustainable, reclined sitting is.
What kind of work will the computer be used for- what software?
Games - arranging the best keyboard/mouse/game pad is a high priority.
What can you see - documents, monitor screen positioning?
Make sure that any paper documents that you are reading are placed as close to the computer monitor as possible and that these are at a similar angle - use a document holder where possible. The computer monitor should be placed:
If any screen adjustments feel uncomfortable then change them until the arrangement feels more comfortable or seek further professional help
Ensure good computer posture as well as ergonomic design!
Good posture is the basis of good workstation ergonomics and the best way to avoid a computer-related injury. Employers, teachers and parents can help ensure good posture by committing and being attentive to proper computer ergonomics:
Watch the user's posture! Make sure that...
Keep frequently used items close!
A good ergonomic workstation arrangement:
Computer user work best in a neutral, relaxed, ideal typing posture that will minimize the risk of developing any injury. An ideal keyboard arrangement is to place this on a height adjustable negative-tilt tray or an a manually adjustable height desk. An ideal mouse arrangement is for this to be on a flat surface that's 1-2" above the keyboard and moveable over the numeric keypad. If you want a surface at the level of the keyboard base then make sure that this can also be angled downwards slightly to help to keep your hands in wrist neutral while you are mousing, and keep your elbow is as close to the body as possible while you work.
Where will the computer be used - lightning, ventilation, noise
Take frequent breaks - Practice the following:
What about ergonomic gizmos?
These days just about everything is labeled as being "ergonomically designed" and much of the time this isn't true and these so-called ergonomic products can aggravate a situation. If you're thinking about buying an "ergonomic product" ask yourself the following four questions:
Does the product design and the manufacturer's claims make sense?
What research evidence can the manufacturer provide to support their claims? Be suspicious of products that haven't been studied by researchers.
Does it feel comfortable to use the product after an initial "getting acquainted period? Some ergonomic products may feel odd or slightly uncomfortable at first because they often produce a change in your posture that's beneficial in the long-term. If a product continues to feel uncomfortable after a reasonable trial period (at least a week) time then stop using it.
What do ergonomics experts say about the product? If they don't recommend it don't use it.
Functional computer-related "ergonomic" products:
Sit-stand workstations - The use of a height adjustable work surface for sitting and standing work is becoming fashionable. However, there is scant evidence that sit-stand furniture has cost effective benefits. The evidence suggests that there may be a reduction in back discomfort, but the research for this has not used adequate comparison groups (e.g. testing people who stand for the same time at the same frequency without doing keyboard/mouse work). There is no evidence that sit-stand improves wrist posture when keying or mousing. Logically, the real benefit of sit-stand is just that, changing between sitting and standing. But standing in a static posture is even more tiring than sitting in a static posture, so movement is important. We recommend that the most cost effective way to obtain the benefits from sitting and standing is for people to sit in a neutral work posture and then intermittently to stand and move around doing other things, like filing papers, making phone calls, getting coffee, making photocopies etc.) rather than trying to keyboard or use a mouse while standing. On the other hand, there are work sites and specific work responsibilities that may benefit or require a sit-stand computer work surface for reasons other than ergonomics.
A flat computer desk surface can not be set at an appropriate height for the five main tasks of office work:- keyboarding, mousing, viewing the screen, viewing documents, and writing. These all require different heights for an optimal arrangement. A negative-slope keyboard tray system serves as the height and angle adjustment mechanism for the keyboard, and the mouse platform serves as the height and angle adjustment for the mouse when attached to a work surface that is set for writing height. There are a number of new split work surface designs that may work quite well to achieve optimal monitor positioning.
Wrist Rest Mouse Pads and more