Columbus, OH (CompNewsNetwork) - More and more people in today's workforce spend the majority of their working hours sitting at a desk and using a computer. However, most of us never consider the proper way to work at the computer, making sure our bodies are not fatigued or strained. Improper positioning can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and neck/back aches that can impact job performance and health.
A key element in the mission of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is the promotion and support of workplace safety. BWC's Division of Safety and Hygiene provides safety training and consultation designed to enhance the work life of all Ohio laborers. BWC has the following tips to help make working at your desk more comfortable, efficient, and healthy.
Monitor and keyboard should be directly in front of you.
This eliminates awkward postures for either your neck or torso. Performing static work, such as holding a fixed posture, causes the muscles involved to fatigue more quickly. Additionally, holding a deficient posture (i.e. twisting) puts added stress on joints.
Monitor should be at a distance set to your best focal distance.
This is typically at least 20 inches away. However, if you have corrected vision, the specific monitor viewing distance should be provided by your optometrist. Placing the monitor at the proper viewing distance is intended to minimize eye strain.
The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
A proper monitor location is intended to eliminate awkward posture of the neck when viewing the screen. This is recommended for those with uncorrected or most corrected vision individuals. However, those using Bi-focal, Tri-focal or other special prescriptions may need different vertical monitor placements and should check with their optometrist for advice on the specific vertical location.
Forearms and thighs should be nearly parallel with the floor.
When your forearms are parallel to the floor, and your arms are comfortably at their sides, deficient shoulder postures can be minimized. When your thighs are parallel with the floor, there are fewer tendencies to lean forward in the chair, and more tendencies to use the chair back support. When elbow and knee joints are at angles greater than 90 degrees, blood circulation may be impaired.
Feet should be flat on the floor or on a foot support/rest.
When your thigh is parallel with the floor and feet supported, there is less risk of pressure on the back of the thigh. This type of pressure should be avoided due to discomfort. It may also lead to impaired circulation in the lower extremities.
Lumbar curve should be resting against and supported by the back rest on your chair.
This is intended to reduce stress on the lower back. Leaning forward, even slightly, requires the muscles in the back to work at supporting the torso and upper body. This type of static work can cause the muscles to fatigue.
Other things to think about:
* Take breaks from the computer and do other tasks such as filing, copying, or phone calls;
* Understand what is adjustable at your workstation;
* Exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle; and
* Keep your work area organized.
BWC maintains local customer service offices throughout the state that offer injury-prevention services to Ohio's State Insurance Fund employers. Our consultants specialize in safety, industrial hygiene and ergonomics and will provide on-site services for your organization.