The Importance of Workplace Ergonomics
Workplace ergonomics is about designing for people.
Defined as the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs, ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort.
Think about the angle of your computer monitor, or the height of your desk. Think about whether your eyes are strained by the end of the day or if your wrists hurt from typing. A sound understanding of ergonomics can prevent most workplace injuries by adjusting tools to the user, putting an emphasis on proper posture to reduce the impact of repetitive movements.
How Does My Workplace Ergonomics Affect Me?
The average employee may spend 6-8 hours of the work day on their computer. Add to this activities such as internet shopping, web bill paying, and email you could spend an additional 2-4 hours on your personal computer. As the time we clock up in front of computers continues to rise, it is important that we take necessary steps to minimise our exposure to musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders can develop from exposure to repetition, force and posture.
The use of computers and rapidly changing technology in the modern workplace has greatly increased the need for ergonomics. Desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and lighting all need to be assessed when creating a workspace, whether it is at the office or at home.
Tips To Improve Your Workstation Ergonomic Set Up
- When the desk is a fixed height, the first step to improving your workplace ergonomics and seated posture is to adjust the chair to the correct height. The forearms should be at the desk height or elbows slightly higher.
- Adjust the remainder of the chair. A seat pan will often be flat or slightly tilted forward to open up the hips. The back rest should be sitting just of 90 degrees (around 100-120 degrees) to allow for greater back support. The lumbar support should be sitting in the small of your back. There should be 2 fingers width gap behind the back of your knee and the front of the chair. If your feet don’t touch the ground, a footrest should be used.
- The keyboard should be placed 10-26 cm from the edge of the desk to allow for greater forearm support. The keyboard should sit directly in front of the monitor when only one screen is used. The keyboard position may sit in between 2 monitors when they are used 50% of the time each.
- The mouse should sit adjacent to the keyboard to avoid excessive reaching and abduction of the arm. Where possible, place the mouse on the left side and be sure to swap the keys over. Due to the shape and design of many keyboards, placing a mouse on the left side improves ones ergonomic posture for their forearm and shoulder.
- Place the screens just beyond arms length away and raise it to a height where you can view the top 1/3 of the screen when looking straight ahead.
Osteopathic Care Helps
Osteopaths use a wide range of treatment techniques including soft tissue massage to soften muscle tension, gentle stretches and articulation and manipulation of the joints as appropriate. We may also use gentle cranial osteopathic techniques to re-balance the equilibrium or the spine and cranium, to ease the symptoms and return the patient to good health.