Published on November 25, 2012
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Office ergonomics is a very hot topic these days as individuals struggle with an increased incidence of repetitive strain injuries in the workplace. Workdays lost as a result of neck and low-back strain, postural strain, headaches, arm and hand numbness, and tingling can be prevented through a properly fitted workstation and frequent breaks.
- Centre your monitor directly in front of you.
- Sit approximately an arm length away from your monitor.
- Position the top of the screen with eye level.
- Decrease the brightness to an acceptable level to you to prevent eye strain.
- Use an attachment to your monitor or stand to hold papers you are looking at so that they are not forcing your neck to be in awkward positions while typing.
- Have your keyboard at level that is slightly above your lap.
- Use a wrist support to protect your wrists from being hyperextended.
- Make sure you are above your keyboard to prevent shoulder hiking and to allow your arms to keep an open angle.
- Tilt your keyboard away from you – “negative tilt” – for better posture.
- Keep your mouse close to your keyboard to prevent you from reaching it.
- Have your wrist supported and in a neutral position to avoid hyperextension and hot spots.
- Keep your arms close to your side so that you are not leaning to one side.
- Take frequent breaks every few minutes from “mousing” to prevent wrist injuries.
- Use a lumbar support, such as an ObusForme Lowback or a supporting roll, to ensure there is no gap between you low back / lumbar spine and the chair.
- You should be able to sit firmly with both feet planted on the floor.
- There should be no pressure points on the back of your legs.
- The chair should be adjustable so that you can change positions.
- Ergonomic seats should be used to help align pelvis.
Preventing Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)
- Take frequent breaks: stand up or stretch while on the phone, go and get a glass of water, or find some other excuse to walk around for a few minutes.
- The ideal posture is a variable posture, which means changing positions and postures frequently.
- Use a timer to remind you to stretch or move around – set it to go off every 20 minutes to ensure you are getting up and moving around.
- Take microbreaks: stand up and stretch, reach for the sky every 20 minutes, and look away from your computer to give your eyes a break.