Basic Ergonomic Guidelines

Posted: May 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ergonomic Wellness Blog | Comments Off on Basic Ergonomic Guidelines

Welcome to my first blog! Each month, I will be addressing different areas of “Ergonomic Wellness” to provide you with the many ways in which you can be more comfortable while you work, and more important, to help prevent injuries!

So much about Ergonomics is based on adopting good posture, alignment and body mechanics. It is also about using whatever equipment you are provided with properly, and knowing “how” you should work. The following are some basic ergonomic principles to help get you started.

Ergonomic Guidelines – Seated Position:

  • Adjust the chair to fit your body
  • Start at the feet and work up
  • Go through all the adjustments available on your chair
  • Don’t tuck your foot under your bottom, or sit cross-legged!
  • Sit back in the chair with good posture letting the chair fully support your body

Ergonomic Guidelines – Keyboard

  • Arms should be at a right angle (shoot for 90 degrees or a little lower), and close to the torso
  • Keep wrists neutral – slightly negative angle ideal
  • Should not see wrinkling in the wrists
  • Hands should be level with elbows or slightly lower, fingers slightly downward
  • Try not to use pinkie to hit enter
  • Type gently, don’t make a claw
  • Center keyboard between shoulder blades
  • Legs down on back of keyboard!

Ergonomic Guidelines – Mouse:

  • Use mouse close to the torso and within the V space (V space is the area where your elbows are touching the sides of your body, and your hands can mouse within that V space)
  • Limit the amount of movement
  • Alternate side you mouse with if possible
  • Keep a loose grip on the mouse

Ergonomic Guidelines – Monitor:

  • Height – bridge of your nose should be in line with the top of the text of whatever program you use the most
  • Goal is to not be looking up or down to see the monitor – looking straight on with ear lobes staying aligned over the shoulders
  • Position – square between the shoulders
  • Distance – should just be able to touch screen (22 – 24 inches away which is the length of most people’s arms)
  • If you do a lot of inputting from a document to the computer, use a document holder

Postural Suggestions – Body Mechanics/Upper Body

  • Keep the shoulders down and relaxed
  • Neck elongated (think of top of the head reaching toward the ceiling as the shoulders are pressing downwards)
  • Never cradle the phone! Use a headset, or speaker phone
  • Keep chest open, sternum lifted (think of buttons popping on a shirt)
  • Use middle back muscles

Postural suggestions – Body Mechanics/Lower Body

  • Avoid sitting/leaning back on tailbone
  • Try to sit up on the sit bones
  • Keep space between lower rib and top of the hips (4 – 5 fingers space)
  • Engage the abdominals to sit up tall
  • Sit upright when working consistently, then lean back when doing alternative tasks like reading, on the phone…

Sitting posture (Dos & Don’ts)

  • Don’t:
    • Slump-sit or sit back on tailbone
    • Lean forward, or perch on edge of chair
    • Sit for long periods of time
  • Do:
    • Place both feet on floor when sitting
    • Maintain proper posture
    • Use your abdominals when sitting

Sit up tall on the sit bones


Take a Break!

  • For every 20 minutes of keying, take your hands off the keyboard and do an alternative task for 1 -2 minutes
  • For every hour of sitting, get up and walk around the floor where you work for a break
  • Stand up to answer phone
  • Stretch at your workstation during the day
  • Use the onsite fitness center
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Look at something far away for a minute or two. Blink and refocus

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