In 2015 27.3 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury. Many of these injuries could have been avoided if some simple changes had been put in place. Prevention is said to be better than the cure so why not follow our four-step checklist that you can carry out at your workstation, to make sure you're comfortable, safe and productive in the office.
STEP 1: Are you sitting comfortably?
Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair and adjust your seat height so that your feet are flat to the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips. Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Alter the armrests (if fitted) so that your shoulders are relaxed.
STEP 2: Consider your Keyboard
Pull up close to your keyboard and position it directly in front of your body.
Determine what section of the keyboard you use most frequently and readjust the keyboard so that section is centred with your body.
Wrist rests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wrist rest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wrist rest while typing is not recommended. Avoid using excessively wide wrist rests, or wrist rests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.
If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height, the height of your chair, or use a seat cushion to get into a comfortable position. Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle.
STEP 3: Monitor your monitor
Incorrect positioning of your monitor, phone and documents can result in awkward postures. Adjust the screen and documents so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position.
• Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard.
• Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3" above seated eye level.
• Sit at least an arm's length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.
• Place screen at right angles to windows
• Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights
• Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
STEP 4: Take a break
Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body.
• Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
• Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.
• Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
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