White collar worker at computer

Ergonomics in the Office Workspace

Remember all those times your mother or grandmother would yell at you to “sit up straight!”, “don’t slouch!”? Well apparently they knew what they were talking about. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a leading cause of workplace injuries and account for approximately one third of all workers’ compensation claim dollars spent. Ergonomics is the science of fitting appropriate working conditions and processes to the capabilities of the worker. There are many manufacturers and retailers out there that could part you from your money quickly in order to “solve” your ergonomic woes. However we’d like to offer you some quick tips that you can use in your office workspace right now to help you avoid developing a MSD:

  • The computer monitor should be at or just below eye level and close enough to see without leaning forward or straining the eyes.
  • Shoulders should be relaxed.
  • Keep elbows close to the body and bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Wrists and hands in-line with forearms.
  • Avoid leaning forearms on sharp desk corners.
  • Face forward and head in line with the torso.
  • Feet completely resting on the floor or a sturdy foot rest.
  • Knees at same height as hips and feet slightly forward from knees.
  • Move monitor to avoid light glare which could result in eye strain.
  • Make sure routine operations are within easy reach. (i.e. mouse, phone, etc.)
  • Avoid clutter on, or under, desktops.

Even with a perfect ergonomic environment, sitting in one place or doing the same task over and over again can create strain, so be sure to take regular breaks; get up and walk around a bit. By following these general recommendations you should be able to reduce some of the strain on your body. However, if these tips are not enough to help you, you should consult an ergonomic specialist who can assist you further. And be sure to speak with your doctor about any existing musculoskeletal disorders.


This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.

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