COMPUTER ERGONOMIC SAFETY
Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries or illnesses that affect muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints or spinal discs. They occur when there is a poor fit between a job or task and the person doing the job. The kinds of jobs that are most likely to cause a musculoskeletal disorder are those involving reaching, bending, heavy lifting, using continuous force, vibrating equipment and repetitive motions.
Creating a good ergonomic working arrangement is important in
decreasing your risk of musculoskeletal disorders. (i.e., Carpal tunnel syndrome,
trigger finger, tendinitis, rotator cuff syndrome, sciatica, Raynaud's Syndrome,
DeQuervain's Syndrome and Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome)
COMPUTER WORKSTATION ERGONOMICS
The following tips may help to improve your computer working
arrangement, especially when using the computer for hours during the day:
- Consider using an adjustable keyboard/mouse tray. Choose a system that is height adjustable, lets you tilt the keyboard away from you slightly for better posture (negative tilt), and allows you to use the mouse with your upper arms relaxed and as close to the body as possible.
- Adjust your chair so that your knees are at the same level or slightly higher than your hips. Use a footrest or telephone books if necessary to achieve this position. Your chair should provide a good back rest with lumbar support. If it does not have sufficient padding, consider placing a lumbar cushion or even a rolled-up towel against your lower back. Studies show that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100 - 110 degrees, not the upright 90 degree posture that is often portrayed.
- Make sure your elbows are at a slightly open angle - 90 degrees or greater.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed, and your elbows at your side.
- If your workstation has wrist rests or armrests, be sure to use them only while taking breaks. A wrist rest should be used to rest the heel of your palm, not your wrist itself.
- Place the computer monitor directly in front of you. The monitor should be at a comfortable height. A user's eyes should be in line with a point on the screen about 2 - 3 inches below the top of the monitor casing. The monitor should be at a viewing distance around arms length. If text looks too small at this distance, use a larger font.
- Make sure that any paper documents that you are reading are placed as close to the computer monitor as possible. Use a document holder where possible. Consider placing the document holder below the screen.
- Link to the Computer Ergonomic Checklist to help set up your computer workstation properly.
Remember, to take short, frequent breaks. Intersperse filing or other non-repetitive tasks or activities with computer
work. Exercise breaks (stretching and gentle exercises) and eye breaks (every
15 minutes, look away from the screen for a minute or two, to a distant scene)
should be done to relieve muscle fatigue. Also, blink your eyes rapidly for
a few seconds.