Extended Duration at the Computer – Health and Safety is Important!
When working for an extended duration at a computer, health and safety considerations cannot be dismissed, otherwise there is the potential for ergonomic injury. At Affygility Solutions, we often get called in to perform computer workstation evaluations on employees that are experiencing discomfort while working at their computer. In most cases, simple and cost-effective solutions are available. Here is some basic guidance:
- Start from the floor and work your way up. In most cases you can’t move the floor, so that’s the one thing that’s static. Begin by sitting in your chair and adjusting the height of the seat pan so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees at approximately 90 degrees. If you don’t have a good adjustable chair, you may want to check out a few different styles.
- Second, while sitting upright, shoulders relaxed, elbows at your side, close your eyes and visualize where your hands should be placed on the computer keyboard. If that’s not where your keyboard is, then get a computer keyboard tray and adjust the height so your elbows are at approximately 90 degrees and your wrists are in the neutral positon. Your computer mouse or computer trackball should also be on the same level as your computer keyboard tray. In addition, your wrists and arms should not be contacting any hard surfaces, such as the front edge of a desk or the arm rests on your chair.
- Next, while sitting upright, with your head and neck in a comfortable position, look straight ahead. Your eyes should be focused on the computer monitor, approximately 1/3 down from the top. If not adjust the height of the computer monitor accordingly. If you don’t have access to a computer monitor riser, a couple reams of printer paper or a phone book will work as a temporary fix.
- Adjust the distance of your computer monitor. Typically, 16-28″ from your eye to the computer monitor is ideal. If that’s not adequate, and you haven’t had an eye examination in the last year, it might be time to schedule an appointment.
- Finally, check all the peripheral devices around your computer workstation. Your telephone should be within easy reach and on the same side as your dominant listening ear. If you spend more than 2 hours a day on the telephone, a telephone headset is a good idea. If you use paper documents a lot, then a document holder might be necessary.
The key to computer health and safety
The key to computer health and safety is making sure that your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands are all in the neutral position, not contacting any hard surfaces, and with minimal tension. In addition, your head and neck should be relaxed without excessive bending and twisting.
If you have any questions about computer health and safety please contact Affygility Solutions. Affygility Solutions provides environmental, health and safety services and compliance management software to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.