3rd Quarter 2011-Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker, matching the physical requirements of the job with the physical capacity of the worker. Ergonomics recognizes the capabilities, differences, and limitations of individuals, and adjusts the work tools, work process, or work environment accordingly. Employees can play an important role in ergonomics by being aware of problem postures and poor work habits that can contribute to the development of work-related injuries/illnesses.

How Does Your Workstation Measure Up?

The Chair

  • Use arm rests.
  • Place the lumbar support slightly below the waist line.
  • Adjust the height of the chair so your feet can rest completely on the floor.
  • Allow 1-3 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
  • Use a high back chair that supports your shoulder blades if at all possible


  • Position your hips so that they are slightly higher than your knees while your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Don’t keep your feet flat on the floor. Move them around often. Use a foot rest if you have one, but only part of the time. Do NOT cross your ankles.
  • Lean back slightly. Make sure your chair back will support your shoulders at this angle while still providing good lumbar support.
  • Hold your head slightly up so that it is roughly perpendicular to the floor.
  • Let your upper arms hang naturally from your shoulders.
  • Let your lower arms rest on the arm rests of your chair either parallel or slightly below, to the floor.
  • Keep your wrists straight.
  • Change your position frequently.

Keying Technique

Good keying technique can reduce stresses on the wrists, arms and elbows. It can also minimize static loads on the shoulders to ensure good blood flow to the extremities.

  • Float your hands and arms while keying on armrest or work surface
  • Avoid planting your palms/wrists or bearing weight on elbows while keying
  • Keep your wrists straight. Minimize bending the wrists up/down or inward/outward
  • Keep an open elbow angle at 120 degrees or more…avoid tighter than 90 degrees
  • Take 5 minute breaks from your computer at least once per hour…stretch or walk

The Monitor

  • Position the monitor to minimize glare by placing it at a right angle to light sources
  • Place the monitor as far away from you as possible while maintaining the ability to read without consciously focusing. Keep a minimum distance of 20 inches.
  • Place the center of the screen at a 15 degree down angle from your eyes with your neck only slightly bent holding your head perpendicular to the floor.
  • Align the monitor and the keyboard / mouse

If you would like assistance in setting up your personal workstation, please contact the Safety Department.