However, many employers remain unaware of just how easy it is to ensure a safe and comfortable workplace for their employees.
Use this easy check list to ascertain how ergonomic your workstation is, and use it as an easy reference to take to your employer if anything needs to changed.
- Have you been provided with a standard ergonomic chair (3 adjustments)?
- Are you aware of how to adjust your chair?
- Is the chair height appropriate?
- Are your feet flat on the floor or on a foot stool? This prevents hyper or over flexion of ankles knees and hips. It also assists in preventing pressure of the back of the thighs which can inhibit blood flow.
- Are your thighs approximately horizontal and the lower legs approximately vertical (angle of the hips—the angle between trunk and thigh should be >100°—chair tilt slightly forward can assist with this). This prevents hyper flexion as above.
- When seated are your elbows approximately 1 inch above your work surface? This prevents hyper flexion of the elbows and encourages a neutral wrist position, hence preventing repetitive flexion or extension of the wrist.
- Have you positioned your buttocks well back in chair? This enables better lumbar support.
- Is the chair backrest positioned to support your lower back? The curve of the backrest should fit the curve of the lower back. It is often easiest to position the backrest at the highest level and then move it down until you find a comfortable position.
- When seated at the work station area, are your elbows close to the side of your body with shoulders relaxed? This prevents stretching and unnecessary movment of your shoulders when using the keyboard and mouse. It also encourages alignment of hips, shoulders and ears f or correct posture.
- Are there arm rests in use? These are not recommended
- Is there an approximate 1 inch gap between thighs and desk?
- Is the height of the work surface 1-2 inches below the height of your elbows when seated? (The angle between upper arm and forearm should be at least 100°). The aim is to have the wrist in a neutral position when typing to prevent wrist strain.
- Is leg space under the desk unobstructed? You should be able to stretch/move your legs and swivel your chair without obstruction.
With your chair and desk positioned as above, are you able to place your feet comfortably on the ground? If not a foot rest is required. Feet should be positioned such that the angle of the knees, hips and ankle are approximately 100°.
This prevents hyperflexion which causes strain of these areas, and on the lower back. Hyperflexion can also cause pressure on the backs of the thighs, potentially hindering blood flow.
In Part 2 we’ll look at the check list for your computer.
Photo Credit: healthcarewellness.com