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Computer Workstation Self-Assessment

STEP 1: Chair Positioning

  • Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
  • Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.
  • Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle.  Ensure upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If chair is equipped with active back mechanism, use it to make frequent position changes.
  • Adjust the armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed.  Remove the armrest if they hamper movement.
computer workstation

STEP 2: Keyboard

  • Pull body up close to the keyboard.
  • Position the keyboard directly in front of the body.
  • Determine what section of the board is used most frequently, and readjust the keyboard so that this section is centered with the body.
  • Adjust the keyboard height so that shoulders are relaxed, elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and wrists/hands are straight.
  • The keyboard tray should be able to accommodate the mouse, provide leg clearance, and fitted with an adjustable height and tilt mechanism.
    • Use the tray mechanism to adjust the tilt (avoid opening or using the keyboard feet).
    • The tray should not push body too far away from other work materials (such as the telephone).
    • If sitting in a forward or upright position, try tilting the tray away from the body at a negative angle. If body is reclined, a slight positive tilt may help maintain a straight wrist position.
    • If the tray is not fully adjustable, try adjusting the workstation or chair height (use a seat cushion to get in a comfortable position).
  • Wristrests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, they should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes.
    • Avoid using excessively wide wristrests, or those that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.
    • Resting on the wristrest while typing is not recommended.
  • Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard. If possible, place it on a slightly inclined surface.
  • Use a footrest to keep the feet flat and not dangling.

STEP 3: Monitor, Document, and Telephone

  • Adjust the monitor and source documents so that the neck is in a neutral and relaxed position.
  • Center the monitor directly in front of the body above keyboard.
  • Position the top of the monitor so that eye height level is positioned within the upper third section of screen (lower for those wearing bifocals).
  • Sit at least an arm's length away from the screen.
  • Reduce glare by carefully repositioning of the screen.
  • Place screen at right angles to windows. 
  • Other techniques to reduce glare include use of optical glass glare filters, light filters, or secondary task lights
  • Place telephone within easy reach (a cell phone stand can help). Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset on shoulder and neck.
  • Position source documents directly in front of the body, between the monitor and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If possible, place source documents on a document holder and position directly in front (or slightly adjacent) to the monitor.

STEP 4: Pauses and Breaks

  • Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes.
  • Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
  • Avoid eye fatigue by resting and periodically refocusing them. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.
  • Rest your eyes by covering them with the palm of the hand for 10-15 seconds.
  • Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.