Workstations should be ergonomically designed to accommodate the full range of required movements among employees. Moreover, they should be designed so that they accommodate the employees who are actually using them to perform the job, not just for the “average” or “stereotypical” employee.
To understand the best way to set up a computer workstation, it is helpful to understand the concept of neutral body positioning. This is a comfortable working posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system and reduces your risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The following are important considerations when attempting to maintain neutral body postures while working at the computer workstation:
- Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor.
- Head is level or bent slightly forward, forward-facing, and balanced. Generally, it is in-line with the torso.
- Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.
- Elbows stay in close to the body and are bent between 90 and 120-degrees.
- Feet are fully supported by floor or footrest.
- Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.
- Thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat and generally parallel to the floor.
- Knees are about the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward.
Regardless of how good your working posture is, working in the same posture or sitting still for prolonged periods is not healthy. You should change your working position frequently throughout the day in the following ways:
- Make small adjustments to your chair or backrest.
- Stretch your fingers, hands, arms, and torso.
- Stand up and walk around for a few minutes periodically.
Keyboard and mouse
Workstation Quick Reference