08 Feb Is your workstation causing you pain?
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the relationship between people, their environment and the tasks they perform. This can include everything at your office from your chair height to the lighting, or from your phone position to thermal comfort.
The average person spends one third of their life at work. So why shouldn’t we be comfortable in our work environment? Musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain are one of the biggest causes of sickness absence on any given day and are estimated to cost society and employers around £7.4 billion a year. Read on to find out how to avoid this pain!
How to avoid being in pain at your work station
Each element of your work station must be considered in order to provide you with a pain free working environment. Outlined below are the key points to consider when assessing your work station:
- Your chair should be adjustable and comfortable.
- Your feet should remain flat on the ground (or flat resting on a foot rest).
- You should be able to sit in contact with the back of the chair at all times.
- The backrest should have good lower back support.
- Your knees, hips and elbow joints should all form right angles.
- Your knees should extend over the seat of the chair, with around 5-8cm gap from the edge of the seat to the back of your knee.
- The position of the keyboard should be centred on your desk, generally with the B and N keys in the middle.
- Your keyboard should be in a positioned relatively flat or on a slight inclination on the desk to maintain a neutral wrist angle when typing.
- The keyboard should be placed close enough that your elbows are relaxed by your side and you don’t have to stretch to reach the keypad.
- The computer screen should be placed roughly at arms distance away.
- When looking straight ahead, your eyes should rest at the top one third of the computer screen.
- Your screen should be tilted at a slight angle to reduce glare and tint from lighting around the room (individual for each office).
- The desk height should be clear the top of your thighs by three finger width.
- With your elbows at right angles by side, your forearms should be able to move freely above the desk and not make contact.
- The mouse should be situated close enough to the keyboard so that the elbow remains at 90 degrees close to your body and your wrist is in a neutral position, with minimal movement coming from your shoulder.
- If you a regularly using a phone, the handset should be within easy reach, generally on the opposite side to your mouse. Alternatively, if your job requires you to be on the phone constantly, a headset may be beneficial.
Other Ergonomic considerations
- Use a document holder when typing from hardcopies; the holder should be placed between the keyboard and the screen at a sufficient angle that provides minimal head tilt and turning.
- Consider natural light
- Fluorescent lights cause the most glare
- Optimal working temperature is 21 degrees Celsius
- A variation of 1-2 degrees is ok, but any more can become uncomfortable
- Noise levels should be kept at a minimum; research has shown that working in a noisy environment decreases the effectiveness of ones work.
General Posture Tips
- Neck and back should be straight and neutral
- Forearms parallel to floor
- Knees, hips and elbows at right angles
- Wrist neutral and resting on a support when typing on keyboard
- Eyes looking straight ahead
- Remember to take regular breaks, look away from the computer screen and let your eyes relax
- Simple neck, wrist, and shoulder stretches should be undertaken regularly
Remember, the most important aspect of your work station is that you are comfortable!
If you would like more information on Perfect Balance Clinic’s Ergonomics services then visit our Ergonomic service page, or call us on 0800 0724 012. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.