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How 'Healthy' Is Your Workstation?

By Floria, Barbara

People whose job puts them at a computer keyboard all day have reported a variety of health problems linked to work habits and workstation design, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

You can prevent many of these discomforts by arranging your workstation and computer components to accommodate your body and work tasks.

Desk tips

A user-friendly desk provides adequate clearance for your legs, allows proper placement of computer components and accessories, and minimizes awkward postures and exertions.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Avoid storing items under your desk that could keep you from sitting with your chair pulled in.

  • Put frequently used devices (keyboard and mouse) within easy reach.

  • Minimize stress on your wrists by padding hard desk edges with inexpensive materials, such as pipe insulation, or use a wrist rest.

  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor when you sit.

Monitor tips

Placing your monitor in an appropriate position helps reduce awkward postures and overhead glare. This helps prevent fatigue, eyestrain and neck and back pain.

To place the monitor properly:

  • Put it directly in front of you. Monitors shouldn't be farther than 35 degrees to the left or right.

  • Place it so the top line of the screen is at or below eye level and perpendicular to any windows.

  • Place it about 20 inches from your eyes.

  • Sit at a comfortable distance from the monitor. You should be able to read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and your back supported by your chair.

  • Lower the monitor so you can maintain appropriate neck posture if you wear bifocals. You may need to tilt the screen up toward you.

Telephone tips

Using the telephone efficiently will help prevent pain and fatigue.

To do so:

  • Use a speakerphone or headset for long conversations.

  • Don't place the telephone too far away, which can cause you to repeatedly reach, resulting in strain on your shoulders, arms and neck.

Medical Reviewer: [Bhattacharyya, Timothy MD, Lee Jenkins ] Last Annual Review Date: 2008-06-10T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: © Health Ink & Vitality Communications

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