Office Ergonomics - Common Office Injuries
Musculoskeletal, vision, and hearing problems are common in the workplace. By applying ergonomic solutions, you may be able to reduce physical problems and improve your comfort and ability to work effectively.
Your musculoskeletal system is made up of the structures that support you and help you move, such as bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Examples of musculoskeletal problems that may be related to ergonomic issues are:
Solutions. You can reduce your chances of musculoskeletal injuries and be more comfortable and efficient by setting up your workstation and work tools for your own personal needs.
- Your computer monitor should be directly in front of you. The height should be adjustable, with the top of the screen at about your eye level.
- A footrest can help support your legs and reduce low back strain, especially if your feet don't rest comfortably flat on the floor.
- Your chair should have adjustable seat height, back, and arm rests, and a base with five wheels for easy movement without tipping. Lumbar support for your back is helpful. When you sit in your chair, your feet should rest flat on the floor, and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. The edge of the chair should be soft and should not touch the backs of your knees. If you have arm rests, you should be able to use them without slouching or having your shoulders either hunched up or drooping down.
- Your desk should be large enough to accommodate your work area. Arrange your desk so the items you need most often are within reach, and you don't have to bend or twist frequently.
- Your keyboard tray should be big enough to hold your keyboard and mouse, and the height should be adjustable.
- Your computer mouse can be a trackball or touch pad, which may help reduce symptoms some people get from the repetitive motions of a standard computer mouse.
- The computer mouse should be placed close to the keyboard where it does not cause you to lean forward or to reach too far.
- Contoured or curved keyboards are designed to help reduce problems in the hands, wrists, and shoulders. They seem to help some people, but there is no good evidence that they reduce symptoms. Wrist pads (also called wrist supports or wrist rests) help support the arms and reduce strain during breaks from typing. The pads are not intended to be used while you are typing. But some people find the pads helpful even when they are using their keyboard or mouse. When you type or use your mouse, try raising your forearms a little so your wrists are in a neutral position and your arms and hands can move freely. If you have arm rests on your chair, you may be able to adjust them so your forearms are parallel to the floor and your wrists are neutral. A neutral position means not bent too far forward or backward. You may want to alternate between resting your wrists on the pads and raising them up. If you use a wrist pad, it's best to rest your palm or the heel of your hand on the support, rather than your wrist.