Computer Workstation Ergonomic Guidelines

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 22, 2008

These days, we rely on the computer for a number of things. From working to typing school papers to surfing the Internet, the average person spends about three hours a day on the computer, more if they work in an office job.

What not everyone realizes, however, is that spending a great amount of time in front of the computer is not good for you. It can lead to strained vision, headaches, sore back and neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, and poor posture, among other things.

However, computer ergonomics can help to alleviate or prevent the problems associated with computer usage. Computer workstation ergonomics include positioning your workstation, such as your desk, chair, and so forth, in such a way that it will not lead to physical problems.

Anyone who works with a computer on a daily or frequent basis should be familiar with computer workstation ergonomics. The following are some computer workstation ergonomic guidelines:

Chair

How you sit at your desk has a big impact on your overall posture. Your chair should be easily adjusted for seat height, so you can sit at a comfortable level that allows your arms to rest naturally on the desk as you type. The chair should swivel and have wheels as well, so you can easily move about your workstation. An adjustable headrest is also important as well. Armrests are not required, particularly if your desk has support for your forearms.

Desk

The height of your desk or table should be adjustable, or at least at a height that is not too low or too high. Your arms should sit comfortably and naturally on the desk. In addition, there should be enough space on the desk or tabletop for your phone, papers, books, and so forth that you are not overly crowded.

Monitor

The computer monitor itself can be the source of eye strain and headaches if it is not properly set up. Flickering screens can also cause headaches and eye problems, so they should be adjusted if you find your monitor is flickering. The placement of the monitor should be eye level and an anti-glare screen should be installed, if possible.

Keyboard

Unless you are using a laptop computer, your keyboard should be placed so that your elbows can rest comfortably at your sides. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor and have desk space to rest on to minimize strain on the wrists. In addition, the keyboard should not be angled up too sharply to prevent awkward straining of the fingers.

Accessories

There are a number of computer ergonomic accessories available too, and it’s a good idea to ask your employer for some or purchase them for home use. These include mouse pads and key board rests designed to support the wrists while typing. Foot rests are also a good idea to keep the feet elevated. Copy stands for placing papers on should be used too, and set at the same height as the monitor.

Lighting

The overhead lighting in your office should be indirect to reduce glare on your computer screen. If this can’t be prevented, your monitor should have an anti-glare screen, particularly if you can see reflections in your screen.

The above guidelines for computer ergonomic workstations should be followed in order to help reduce the amount of stress and strain on the eyes and body when working long hours at a computer or at a desk.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Computer Workstation Ergonomic Guidelines." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 22 Feb. 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/340/computer-workstation-ergonomic-guidelines/ >.