Ergonomics

EH&S supports employees by providing training, ergonomic evaluations, recommendations and planning for the office and the trades.

Please use the Ergonomics Self Help Guide to help computer users increase comfort and reduce the risk of injury while working at the computer.

Working in an internet browser-based environment can often be very mouse intensive. PeolpleSoft offers many keyboard shortcuts for the web as an alternative to the mouse.

General Workstation Information

Body Position

  • Is your chair adjusted so that you have a neutral body position?
  • Are upper thighs and forearms approximately parallel to the floor?
  • Do your arms hug the side of your body when using the keyboard?
  • Is the top of your monitor approximately level with the top of your head?

A neutral body position minimizes risk of computer-related injuries. Start by adjusting your chair so that you feel comfortable and supported. Position your forearms on the keyboard parallel to the floor with your wrists flat. Depending on your workstation set-up, either adjust the chair so that arms are in a neutral position or, if using an articulating keyboard tray, move the tray so that forearms and wrists stay flat.

Usually, if working with the keyboard on the top of the work surface, you will need to adjust the chair up and use a footstool.

Make sure that you are not looking up at the monitor. The top third to half of the screen should be at eye level. You may need to remove the monitor from the CPU and use monitor risers to get the correct height.

Workstation Arrangements

  • Are your input devices (mouse, keyboard, etc.) at the same level as your keyboard?
  • Are your primary work materials/input devices located in front of you?
  • Are your most frequently used items (phone, manuals, etc.) easy to reach?
  • Do you have a document holder at the same height as your screen?
  • Are you able to keep your arms from resting on any hard edges on the work surface?
  • If you spend a lot of time on the phone, do you use a phone headset?

Corner, "L" or "U" shaped workstations usually work better than rectangular work surfaces because they provide additional depth and place your accessories within easy reach. Keyboard trays are one option to increase desk space, but these devices can sometimes force you too far away from your work surface and force you to reach for your mouse or put your mouse at a higher level then the keyboard. Excessive reaching may cause pain or discomfort to arms and shoulders.

If you change tasks, remember to move both materials and input devices within easy reach. If you use a document holder, position it at the same height and distance as your monitor. Slant boards can be used to hold oversize documents.

It's best for the hands to "float" over the keyboard rather than rest on the work surface, but if you find yourself resting your wrists on the desk top, you may want to use a padded wrist rest. This also helps maintain circulation by keeping your arms and/or wrists off the hard edges of your work surface.

Talking on the phone with the receiver cradled between your ear and your shoulder can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain. A headset will allow your body to stay in a neutral position and leave your hands free for writing or using your computer.

Work Habits

  • Do you take short breaks throughout the day when working on the computer?
  • Do you provide your eyes with vision breaks every hour?
  • Are you comfortable and free of pain while working?
  • Do you stretch your back, neck and hands every hour or so?
  • If you use the mouse a lot, do you substitute using keystroke alternatives?

Periodic breaks help to alleviate fatigue and strain to your eyes and upper body. You can vary the type of work you are doing, making phone calls, making copies, reading, etc., in place of breaks.

If you experience persistent discomfort related to your computer use at work, report your injury. Diagnosis and proper treatment at the early stages of a cumulative injury can prevent permanent problems.

Ergonomics Vendor List

Santa Rosa Vendors
Vendor Phone Address
Tech Line Studios (707) 578-0616 3451 Airway Drive
Advent Furniture (Ed Bronson) (707) 575-7006 1849 Piner Road
Office Depot (707) 579-4858 1960 Santa Rosa Ave.