The study of ergonomics relies on the proper body and office equipment position in order to reduce work-related strain and injury. Many injuries, and sources of pain or strain the workplace, are due to improper body position, such as sitting with a slouch, having a computer monitor at an incorrect height, or not holding the body’s arms and wrists at the proper level and position. Ergonomics provides proper angles and positions in order to avoid this type of pain and injury. By incorporating office ergonomics tips for workplace safety, your small business can reduce worker’s compensation claims dramatically as many of the work-related injuries will be avoided.
To start setting up the office for proper ergonomics you should start with the office furniture, particularly the desk and chair. There are a number of tips and instructions that will make this area more ergonomic and allow for a more comfortable work environment. Since the computer monitor needs to be in front without neck straining to look up or down, adjust the desk height accordingly. Be sure the desk is set up so that the wrists are in a comfortable position and just off the sharp edge of the desk. Set up the chair so that the knees are at a 90-degree angle; the knees should be completely level with the hips, and the thighs should be parallel to the floor. Sometimes it helps to have someone else look at you sitting at your desk to be sure the chair is of the correct height and angle and your back is not bending awkwardly.
To correctly set up the computer and keyboard workstation, they need to be aligned so that the head, neck, shoulders, arms, and wrists are not straining or bending awkwardly. Since computer workers are sitting in the same position for long periods of time, proper alignment is essential. The monitor and keyboard should be directly in front of the worker, with the fingers resting lightly on the keyboard; the elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. Make sure the head and neck are aligned with the shoulders; the monitor can be adjusted to be sure they are aligned. To have the wrists in a neutral position, the keyboard should be elevated two inches and there should be a padded wrist rest in front of it. When using the mouse, the arm should move the mouse, not your wrist. The monitor should be aligned so that the top line of the screen is just below eye level and a distance away of about 20 inches.
Work Environment Set
The work environment should also be taken into consideration for proper office ergonomics. This includes lighting, cleaning, and overall environment set up. When looking at the monitor, there should not be a glare from a nearby window or lighting source as this can cause eye strain. The desk should not be facing a window as this will increase the glare and strain. The work surface should also be large enough to hold everything needed without having to reach, twist, or bend awkwardly to get it. Breaks should be frequent to let the eyes and muscles rest, preferably taking a standing up or walking break at least every hour. If the job requires a lot of phone work, be sure to have a headset to alleviate strain from holding a heavy phone.
These office ergonomic tips for workplace safety will improve employee safety and reduce worker’s compensation claims. Employees will feel a relief of any injuries or strain they currently have, and prevent further injury in the future.