Factory work and manual labor aren’t the only jobs that can be hazardous to your health. Many workers spend the majority of their day sitting behind a desk and using a computer, which can fatigue and strain the body. Poor positioning can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back aches, and a variety of other symptoms that can impact job performance and health.
In its mission to promote workplace safety, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation offers the following tips to make working at your desk more comfortable, efficient and healthy.
• Monitor and keyboard should be directly in front of you.
This eliminates awkward posture for your neck or torso. Performing static work, such as holding a fixed posture, causes the muscles involved to fatigue more quickly. Additionally, holding a deficient posture, such as twisting, puts added stress on joints.
• Monitor should be at a distance set to your best focal distance.
This is typically at least 20 inches away. However, if you have corrected vision, the specific monitor viewing distance should be provided by your optometrist. This will minimize eye strain.
• The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
A proper monitor location is intended to eliminate awkward posture of the neck when viewing the screen. This is recommended for those with uncorrected or most corrected vision individuals. However, those using bifocal, trifocal or other special prescriptions may need different vertical monitor placement and should check with their optometrist for advice on the specific vertical location.
• Forearms and thighs should be nearly parallel with the floor.
When your forearms are parallel to the floor, and your arms are comfortably at their sides, deficient shoulder posture can be minimized. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, there are fewer tendencies to lean forward in the chair, and more tendencies to use the chair’s back support. When elbow and knee joints are at angles greater than 90 degrees, blood circulation may be impaired.
• Feet should be flat on the floor or
on a foot support/rest.
When your thighs are parallel to the floor, and feet supported, there is less risk of pressure on the back of the thighs. This type of pressure should be avoided due to discomfort. It may also lead to impaired circulation in the lower extremities.
• Lumbar curve should be resting
against and supported by the back
rest on your chair.
This is intended to reduce stress on the lower back. Leaning forward, even slightly, requires the muscles in the back to work at supporting the torso and upper body. This type of static work can cause the muscles to fatigue.
Other things to think about:
• Take breaks from the computer and
do other tasks such as filing,
copying or making phone calls.
• Understand what is adjustable at
your work station.
• Exercise and maintain a healthy
• Keep your work area organized.