With the move towards more desk-based jobs, we are seeing more people complaining of back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain etc. Many of these complaints can directly relate to your work posture and environment and may be helped with just a few quick adjustments.

Ergonomics optimises the interface between people, their job and their environment. An ergonomic workstation set up is safer and more comfortable for workers. It has also been shown to reduce physical/mental stress, increase productivity, increase morale and reduce sick leave.

There are a number of factors to be addressed, firstly let’s start with the chair. By law, your chair must have a stable base, have freedom of movement, be height adjustable and provide adjustable lumbar support. You may have the best chair available, but if it is not set to your individual requirements it is worthless. When setting up your chair, check that:

  1. Your feet are rested flat on the ground (if not, a footrest should be provided)
  2. You have an open angle at your hips to promote a neutral spinal posture
  3. There is a space of between 2-3 inches between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees so as to not disrupt blood circulation
  4. You sit back into the chair fully so that your back is supported
  5. The back of the chair is adjusted to support your posture
  6. Your shoulders are relaxed – armrests should be adjusted to give support without causing shoulders to hunch.
  7. The armrests are in line with the height of the desk (if not the desk height may need to be adjusted)
  8. Your head is balanced, and you are not leaning forward

Once your chair feels comfortable for you, adjustments may be needed at your desk.

  1. Ensure the computer is placed directly in front of you (if using two screens they may be placed side by side and slightly angled inward)
  2. Do not use a laptop as your main screen unless you have a laptop stand with a wireless keyboard and mouse
  3. Ensure the top of the computer screen is roughly in line with your eyes.
  4. Ensure the computer screen is the correct distance from you-you should be able to read text clearly without straining your eyes.
  5. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 metres away for 20 seconds (20/20/20 rule) to prevent eye fatigue
  6. Maintain a neutral wrist position when typing or using the mouse.
  7. Keep things you use regularly within arm’s reach (optimum reach sector), and store items you don’t use regularly away from your desk to encourage you to move more.

After making these basic adjustments, it is still important to move regularly and stretch. Some stretches may be carried out at your desk e.g. shoulder rolls, neck stretches, arm stretches etc. but as a general guide try to take regular breaks and move more.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, employees who work with a computer must have a workstation set up that is not a risk to their health and must be trained in the safe use of the workstation.

If you feel that your workstation set up is affecting your health, contact us today at 0863862001 to arrange for Rachel to visit your workplace and carry out a full assessment.