Posture Correction / Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study and modification of your work situation to prevent or relieve injuries in the workplace. The most common problems stemming from work include repetitive strain injuries, often involving the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder, and low back or neck pain due to poor posture at work. These are very common issues and often build up over a long period.
The two main areas we can address are environmental problems, such as your chair, desk height and set up and positioning in relation to your work materials, and ‘intrinsic’ problems. These include poor postural muscle strength, poor muscle endurance in the small, stabilising muscles that are continuously used each day, and bad habits contributing to increased load on your body at work.
Below are some general guidelines to improve your workplace health and safety.
Good work Ergonomics for computer users
- Your feet should be flat on a stable surface.
- If your chair doesn’t lower down enough for you to place your feet on the ground then place a raise (e.g. footstool) on the ground.
- Your thighs should be fully supported on the chair. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground.
- You should be sitting with good posture in your back.
- To find good posture in your back, sit with your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands under your bum palms facing upwards. Move your hands around until you feel the 2 bony bits. Now slouch then arch your back. You should feel your body weight changing over these bony bits. When all your weight is on these bones you are sitting correctly.
- The back support of the chair should be firmly against your lower back.
- If you are following all the above steps and your back is not firmly against the back support on your chair then try adjusting it. If the back support is not adjustable try placing a cushion into your lower back to support it.
- Arms should be relaxed by your side
- Elbows should be at a 90 degree angle
- Elbows should be at the same height as the first row of buttons on the key board.
- The forearm support on your chair should be the appropriate height so that your elbows are bent to a 90 degree angle when resting on it. If it is too high or too low it should be adjusted appropriately.
- If you do not have a forearm support on your chair then your forearms should rest on your work table when your elbows are bent to 90 degrees.
- Wrists should be straight when using the keyboard. There should be a space on the desk for resting the wrists when not using the keyboard.
- In good sitting posture the screen should be at eye level, approximately finger tip distance.
The following should also be considered:
- Keep work equipment within easy reach especially the mouse.
- Take regularly breaks particularly if doing a repetitive action.
- Work in an appropriate temperature with adequate lighting.
- Work in good postures.
- Reduce the forces required to complete a task e.g. use a light touch on a keyboard.
- Reduce contact stresses e.g. avoid resting the arms or legs on a sharp surface as this will decrease blood flow to the area.
- Use a document holder for hard copy documents.
- Try to avoid reflections on the screen.
- Use telephone headsets if a lot of time is being spent on the phone.
- Typing skill courses are good for people who spend a lot of time looking down at the keyboard.