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Learning the art of office ergonomics

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You might know the importance of ‘good working posture’ and that too much sitting is unhealthy, but do you know how to set up a computer workstation to reduce the chance of sprain and strain injuries?

Office ergonomics can help you be more comfortable at work, lower stress, and reduce injuries caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks.

Here are a few small and simple changes you can make to reduce your risk of injury:

  • Position the computer monitor/s so that you do not need to twist your neck, tilt or arch your head or back.
  • Position your keyboard directly in front of you by pushing the keyboard back so that your forearms are supported on the front part of the desk when keying.
  • Give yourself space. You should be able to use both your keyboard and mouse comfortably on the same level of the desk surface.
  • Adjust your chair to suit you, including the seat height and tilt, lumbar support and backrest position. This includes having your feet flat on the ground or footrest.
  • Check that the screen characters can be seen clearly and comfortably and that your specific eyewear is suitable for computer use.
  • Reduce the glare and shadowing on the screen. Adjust the window coverings for glare and provide additional task lighting to suit you and your task.
  • Sit closely to the desk and remove fixed armrests if they stop you from doing this.
  • If you use a laptop for long periods of time, use a separate full-sized keyboard, mouse and monitor.

One of the key things to remember is to get up and move regularly. Throughout your work day, frequently stand up and walk around often. Walk to the printer, have a conversation with a colleague rather than phoning or emailing them, have a walking meeting or standing time during meetings.

These are just a few things to consider to minimise risk of injury in an office environment. For more information and guidelines on the selection and use of office equipment and furniture, see these Workplace Health and Safety Queensland resources:

Last updated
02 August 2017