Ergonomics Safety Plan

Computer Workstation Check Sheet


Basis/Justification

The administration of BYU-Idaho recognizes that office "ergonomics" are essential to the overall health and well-being of employees. Poor body position, work station arrangements, and work habits can lead to physical injury and/or loss of mobility. Because of a commitment to provide a safe and healthful work place, and to comply with OSHA safety standards, the Office Ergonomics Safety Policy, described hereafter, is implemented as institutional policy.

1.0 Body Position.

Neutral Body Position.  A neutral body position minimizes the 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.

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

Monitor Level.  Make sure that you are not looking up at the monitor. The top 1/3 - 2 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.


2.0 Workstation Arrangements.

Workstation Design.  Corner, "L-shaped", or "U-shaped" workstations usually work better than rectangular work surfaces because they provide additional depth and place your accessories within easy reach.

Keyboards.  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.

Document Holder.  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.

Hand Position/Wrist Pad.  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 desktop, 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.

Telephone Usage.  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.


3.0 Work Habits.

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

Persistent Discomfort.  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.


4.0 Proper Setup of Equipment.

With the appropriate furniture adjustments and ergonomic equipment, your workstation should accommodate the proper body postures as outlined below:

Seating.  
Adjust the height of your seat to allow for:

A.  Feet to plant comfortably on the floor or footrest
B.  Knees to bend at 90 degrees or slightly greater, and
C.  Thighs to rest parallel to the floor.

Adjust seatback position to allow for:

A.  Hips to bend at 90 degrees or slightly greater, and
B.  Adequate low back support.

Adjust seat pan depth to allow for a 2-4" gap between the front edge of the seat and back of knees.


Mouse and keyboard height.

Adjust your mouse and keyboard to allow for:

  • Hands at elbow height or slightly lower
  • Forearms and hands to form straight lines
  • Shoulders to be relaxed, with elbows hanging close to your sides


Monitor placement.

Adjust your monitor position to allow for:

  • The top of the screen to align at or slightly below the eye level
  • Straight-forward monitor viewing
  • A comfortable distance of between 16 - 28"
  • An upright head posture with chin tucked in


5.0 Healthy Work Habits and Practices.

Ensure proper use and adjustment of office furniture and equipment by performing ergonomic self evaluations.

  • Do Not Exert Force.  While performing daily tasks, do not exert more force than is really necessary.
  • Practice Developing Proper Postures.   Practice developing proper postures for sitting, keyboarding, phone use, etc. Maintain a constant awareness of preferred neutral body postures not only at work, but in all modes of your life.
  • Avoid Extended Periods of Continuous Computer Use.  Avoid extended periods of continuous computer use by taking short breaks or performing other tasks intermittently between periods spent on the computer (maximum of 30 minutes continuous computer use at any time).
  • Take Stretch/Exercise Breaks. Take stretch/exercise breaks during your workday and integrate them into your daily life as well.
  • Avoid Bright Light.  Avoid direct or overly-bright lighting, but make sure you have enough light to comfortably and safely perform you job duties.


6.0 Office Stretches.

To help relive office stress from your body, try incorporating several of these stretching exercises into your morning warm-up and daytime work schedule. If you have an injury or any type of reoccurring discomforts, you should immediately report your injury/symptoms and obtain a medical evaluation. These stretching exercises are not provided to cure any existing problems but may help in preventing any future ones. Individuals with previous injury should consult with a personal physician before performing these exercises on a routine basis.

While performing these stretches

Do Not:

  • Bounce or use jerky motions
  • Stretch until it hurts

Do:

  • Breathe deeply and relax
  • Extend until you feel a comfortable stretch
  • Move smoothly and slowly
Eyes

Close eyes tightly for a second, then open them widely (repeat several times)
Refocus eyes momentarily on an object at least 20 feet away.

Hands

Spread fingers wide apart and hold for 10 seconds, form fists for 10 seconds (repeat several times).
Place hands together with fingers spread apart and fingertips at chin level. Slowly lower hands, peel them apart, and reverse the process. Repeat several times.

Neck

Slowly turn head to side and hold for 10 seconds. Alternate sides and repeat several times.
Slowly tilt head to side and hold for 5-10 seconds.
Alternate sides and repeat several times.

Shoulders

Slowly shrug shoulders in a forward circular motion.
Alternate to reverse circular motion.

Low Back

With hands on hips and feet about shoulder width apart, slowly lean hips forward and shoulders slightly back. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds.