Does your team complain about neck or back pain? Do you often have employees out sick due to headaches? According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , desk workers who use computers regularly are in danger of nerve, tendon, ligament and muscle injuries that cause symptoms like these due to ergonomics issues.
There’s no doubt the reduced productivity, increased sick days and worker’s comp claims that result are bad for business. Fortunately, properly designed workstations and a little instruction in proper posture can eliminate ergonomics problems for the majority of desk workers.
Choose the Right Chair
Invest in chairs that adjust easily for both height and tilt. Workers should be able to sit comfortably with their feet resting on the ground and their thighs horizontal and at the level of their hips. The chair’s armrests should also be adjustable to keep your employee’s elbows near his or her waist.
Proper Desk Height is Essential
When your employee is sitting, the height of his or her desk (or pullout keyboard tray) should be at elbow level. The mouse should also be positioned at elbow level, or about one to two inches above the thighs. If the desk includes a pullout keyboard tray, the mouse should be placed here, not on the main desk surface. Whether typing, writing or using the mouse, your employee should be able to keep his or her arms nearly perpendicular to the floor.
Position Monitors Carefully
For the best ergonomics, position the computer monitor directly in front of your worker and about 20 to 26 inches away. The top of the screen should be at eye level to avoid neck strain caused by looking up or down.
Practice Good Posture
Sure, slouching can be comfortable—but only for a while. Proper posture takes a bit more effort but will keep your desk workers feeling and performing their best throughout the workday. Encourage them to:
- Sit up straight while keeping their head centered over their body. Their ears should always be in line with their shoulders, which are in line with their hips.
- Keep their upper arms relaxed and loose. Allowing them to hang close to the body rather than reaching them forward will help prevent shoulder strain.
- Avoid wrist strain by aligning their hands with their lower arms. Try to type lightly; don’t pound the keyboard with excessive force.
- Take frequent breaks. They can rest their eyes periodically by looking at an object across the room or outside the window. They should also spend a few minutes standing and gently stretching each hour.
Poor ergonomics are a common cause of workplace injuries in office environments and should be addressed in your illness and injury prevention plan. If you’d like assistance doing so, please give us a call.