This Tech Tip was originally published as the March 2016 “Safety Pins” by Philip E. Spiezio, Safety Officer, Washington County Office of the Safety Officer
Ergonomics is the science of fitting the work environment to the worker.
Sitting at a desk looks easy, but a poor desktop design can make you feel like you have been lifting weights all day! Poor ergonomics increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders like tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Working in a neutral body posture makes it less likely that you’ll develop these types of disorders.
The following are a few helpful hints for you to look at the next time you are sitting at a desk:
- Hands, wrists, and forearms should be straight, in line, and parallel to the floor.
- Facing forward with your head level or bent slightly forward. The top of the computer monitor should be at or just below eye level.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed. The upper arms should hang normally at the sides of the body. You should be able to keep your elbows close to your side.
- Be sure that your feet are flat on the floor or supported by a footrest and that they are slightly forward of your knees.
- Your back should be fully supported when you sit straight up or lean back slightly.
- Your upper legs should be parallel with the floor, with your knees being about the same height as your hips.
There is no set-up that is safe and comfortable for everyone, but following these basic guidelines will make your desktop more user-friendly.