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* Office Ergonomics #1 *

Workstation Setup Guidelines

Work Surface Height
The proper height for a computer work surface is about 3 or 4 inches lower than the average writing desk. If your work surface is not height adjustable you might need to raise your chair and use a foot rest for proper support.
Your forearms should be parallel to the floor. Your elbow should make an angle of between 90 and 110 degrees.
Your forearms should be supported a minimum of 6 inches.
Your wrists should be straight and neutral. Wrists bent in any direction (up, down, left, or right) may lead to discomfort and eventually injury.

Your Chair
Your chair is one of the most important aspects of a good ergonomic work station. Adjust your chair to properly support your body.
Adjust chair height so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Both feet should be flat on the floor or a foot rest and your thighs parallel to the floor.
Adjust the back support so that the seat back`''s curve is in curve of the lower back. Use a towel or lumbar pad if your chair does not provide adequate support.
Adjust the backrest for seat pan clearance. You should be able to place 2 or 3 fingers between the back of your knees and the front edge of the seat.

Monitor Height and Position
The position of your head and neck is very important to comfortable computer use because your blood must flow through the neck and shoulders to get to your arm muscles that are doing the work.
Your monitor should be directly in front of you.
Monitor height should be adjusted so that the top row of characters on the screen is at or slightly below eye height. If you wear bifocals or trifocals, a lower position is required depending on your lenses.
The monitor should be 18 to 28 inches from your eyes. (About at arm's length away).

Change Positions
The positions outlined in this flyer are nominal starting points! Adjust chair height, back support, and seat pan tilt slightly throughout the workday. Slight position changes will vary the muscles that are required to hold static posture. Your comfort will be improved and the onset of fatigue delayed.

Stretching and Breaks
Your body was designed to perform a variety of tasks while actively using your muscles. Sustained muscle activity (like holding your arms up to type) robs the muscles of life giving blood flow. It is very important to actively stretch during breaks to flush out toxins that build up in the muscles that were used for sustained posture.


The following body areas typically need stretching or relaxation exercises after computer use.

You may wish to talk to the company's industrial clinic or a physical or occupational therapist for the proper stretching exercises for you.

Caution:
Stretching should always be performed gently using controlled movements! If you experience any pain or discomfort, discontinue the exercise and consult a qualified health professional immediately!

* Get Setup For Safety *

We welcome comments about this article, and your requests for future topics.

    If you have a specific topic you would like to see covered here or that you may need for your company, please send an Email to our Tail Gate Safety Topics editor, Dave Miller at demiller@pacificemployers.com or to peinfo@pacificemployers.com. Thanks!

Copyright 1999 by David E. Miller