Ergonomics in the workplace
February 19, 2018
There are three components primary that address ergonomics in the workplace:
1 Task chair
2 Adjustable height monitor arm
3 Fully adjustable keyboard tray
Often when addressing ergonomics, one can go back to the old joke about the
patient at the doctor’s office. The doctor raises his left arm and asks the
patient “does it hurt when you do this?” The patient says “yes – exactly!”
Without missing a beat the doctor says “then don’t do that!”
Many ergonomic problems are caused by not having a workstation that is
correctly set up for the individual user. The personal computer is the number
one piece of office equipment that has created present day ergonomic
challenges. The typical office worker spends over half of their time in front of
a computer screen. Repetitive motions can cause stress and strain to many
body components; eyes, neck, wrists, lower and upper back to name several.
Ergonomics brings many of these factors into balance. The idea is to have all
these physiological components in neutral positions.
TASK CHAIR. Proper ergonomics all start with the task chair. The task chair
is the most important component of ergonomics. It should be completely
adjustable so the user is sitting in a comfortable and neutral position. Feet
should be positioned flat on the floor. The back height and tilt angle should be
adjusted so there is ample lumbar support for the lower back. Adjustable
arms should be in a position that support the forearms so they are parallel to
the ground or at a slightly negative tilt relative to the keyboard tray. The
wrist positions should then follow suit to the negative tilt of the forearms. The
user should now be sitting in an upright and neutral position
(Remember when Mom always told you to “sit up straight” at the dinner
table? As always, Mom was right).
The other ergonomic components should then be adjusted around the neutral
sitting position of the user.
The MONITOR ARM should be adjusted at a height and angle that keep head
and eye movement to a minimum. The user should be able to look straight
ahead or slightly downward to view the monitor; this ensures the maximum
support of the head and reduces eye strain and neck strain.
The KEYBOARD TRAY should then be adjusted around this neutral sitting
position as well. In most cases, the keyboard position should below the work
surface height and almost in the lap of the user. It should also have a tilt
feature so it can be set in a slightly negative tilt; again, an extension of the
neutral forearm and hand positions of the user from their original task chair
So, for a quick review of ergonomics 1001,
1 Adjust the task chair and be sure you are sitting flat footed and in a neutral
2 Adjust both the monitor height and tilt to minimize eye and neck strain.
3 Adjust the articulating keyboard tray to minimize wrist and arm strain.