EASY 6-STEP OFFICE ERGONOMICS SELF-ASSESSMENT
These six questions/issues cover the most common office ergonomic concerns.
1) Is my monitor too high?
- The top edge of the monitor screen (not cabinet) should be at or slightly below your eye level. If the monitor is too high, you will, however subtly, tilt your head back, which compresses disks in your neck and causes discomfort.
- Solution: if your monitor is stacked on top of your CPU, the CPU should be moved to one side on your desk or beneath your desk (perhaps on a cart) to lower the monitor. If the monitor is now too low, adjustable monitor risers are available.
2) During computer use, am I reaching too far for my mouse and/or keyboard? Or are my arms in a relaxed position, with elbow at about a 90-degree angle?
- If your mouse pad is positioned too far away (e.g., near your monitor), shoulder discomfort can develop over a period of time.
- Some people are in the habit of pushing their keyboard up against their CPU or monitor for use. Prolonged reaching can result in arm or shoulder pain.
- Solution: move these items closer to the front edge of the work surface. A keyboard tray is the right answer for some people. A chair with a height-adjustable seat pan and height- and width-adjustable arms can also help you maintain that 90-degree angle.
3) Am I reaching too far for work materials?
- If reference books, source documents, phone, etc. are too far away, arm, shoulder and/or back pain can result from reaching and twisting repeatedly.
- Solution: the most frequently used materials should be moved to within easy arm’s reach. Sometimes, you need to simply clear away the space under your desk to enable you to roll your chair farther forward. This will also help with 2).
- Check the two plastic “feet” under the far edge of the keyboard. If they are extended, you are probably keying with your wrists bent up in an unnatural position.
- Solution: the “feet” should be retracted.
5) Are my feet resting flat on the floor?
- If your feet are not supported, pain can develop in the backs of your legs from prolonged compression.
- Solutions: a height-adjustable chair or an adjustable foot support device.
6) Is my monitor at the proper distance?
- Rule of thumb for monitor distance is arm’s length (-24″).
- If you wear corrective lenses, you might need to consult with your eye care practitioner regarding a second pair dedicated to computer use.