Is it ergonomically correct?
What does that even mean?!
According to OSHA, ergonomics is defined as “fitting a job to a person.” It is intended to help lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number of work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Having the proper ergonomic workspace set up is very important, especially when it comes to maintaining good posture and a healthy spine.
How does your work station measure up?
The next time you are at your desk, use these 10 tips to better your workspace and decrease your chances of injury due to postural faults...
- Sit as close as possible to your desk. By sitting closer to your desk, this will allow you to reach your keyboard or answer your phone while maintaining an upright, erect posture. No slouching forward! Your desk should be at the height of your belly button.
- Sit with your bottom back against your chair. Do you sit at the edge of your chair? By sitting with your bottom all the way back against the back of your chair, you are providing support to your lower back and you are able to use your arm rests to better your posture.
- Ensure you have good lumbar support. Most chairs have some lumbar support, but it may not be enough for everyone. If there is room between the curve of your lower back and your chair consider rolling up a bath towel or purchasing a lumbar roll to support your lower back. You will be surprised how supporting your lower back with force better posture! Not sure where where to get your hands on a lumbar roll? Each of our office locations have them on hand for purchase.
- Sit with your Hips and knees bent to 90 degrees.
- Are your feet touching the ground? If your feet are not flat on the ground, use a foot rest (shoe box or telephone book) so that your feet are flat and supported.
- Use your arm rests. Your elbows should parallel to your shoulders and should be bent to 90 degrees. By resting your elbows on the arm rests you are able to take some pressure off of your shoulders and helps you sit up tall.
- Use your wrist rest only for rest! The wrist rests on your keyboards are great, but only use them when taking a break from typing. Avoid typing with your wrists pulled back (which may be caused when placing your wrists on the rest while typing). Keep your wrists in a neutral position to avoid injuring the tendons and nerves that pass through your wrist to your hand.
- Eyes at the top of the computer screen. ONLY after you have adjusted your chair to fit your body, next, adjust your computer screen. When sitting up tall, your eyes should be parallel to the top of your computer screen. If you are unable to adjust the height of your screen, request a computer monitor lift or use books to increase the height of the screen.
- Keep frequently used objects close to your body. The objects that you use the a lot during the day, like your keyboard should be reached with the elbows bent at 90 degrees. Other frequently used objects, like your phone, stapler or books should be able to be accessed without having to fully straighten your arm. Like my dad always says, “Work smarter, not harder!”
- Rest breaks! If you find yourself slouching forward, having aches in your neck, back or shoulders - stand up and stretch!
Written by Christine Whitney, PT.
Christine is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville, NY office.
Meet her here!