Top tips from Ergonomics Expert Alison Biggs of HealthyWork

When working in an office with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) various problems can occur if you are not set up properly at your workstation. This can include back pain, neck pain, arm and wrist pain etc, all affecting the health and productivity of workers. Alison Biggs of Healthywork Ltd, gives advice on best Ergonomics Workstation set up for Office Workers to help minimise common problems and comply with current legislation.

The HSE website gives guidance to comply with the DSE Regulations 1992/2002 and provide two useful publications – The law on VDUs: An easy guide and Work with display screen equipment: Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. The former gives practical guidance, in plain language, on how to comply with the Regulations with a minimum of effort and expense and the latter is for employers who need to check the detail of particular requirements, or anyone who wants advice on the application of the Regulations beyond ordinary VDUs in offices.

Of all the advice available on office ergonomics, Alison recommends that sitting posture is the most important. There are several movement mechanism options available on office chairs and all chair users should use their chair in an unlocked mode to prevent static postures (for more info see Alison’s previous article Sitting on an Office Chair: 7 Top Tips). Therefore cheaper chairs which do not allow the chair back rest to remain unlocked during use or where the movement is the chair back rest and seat tilting backwards together, do not change the angle in the hip and low back region and so static postures causing stiffness, pain and discomfort continue.

Top 6 Workstation Ergonomics Tips

Set your workplace up

As well as the chair advice above, here are some more tips to help improve ergonomics when sitting at a computer workstation:

  1. Chair Height – Adjust the height of your chair to allow your elbows to be horizontal with the keys and then rest your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest so your thighs are parallel to the floor, with the hips and knees horizontal.
  2. Frequently Used Objects in Easy Reach – Keep frequently used objects such as the phone, keyboard, mouse etc within easy reach to avoid over-reaching and bending and your elbows can remain by your side.
  3. Keep Wrists Straight and equipment at same Height -Place your keyboard and mouse on the same surface height, keep your wrists straight when keying and use keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft or shortcuts for Macintosh and to avoid extended mouse use.
  4. Consider a Headset if you Talk and Type – If you frequently speak on the telephone, or have to simultaneously use the keyboard during calls, either use a telephone headset or place the call on hands free/loud speaker mode to avoid neck strain and allow use of both hands.
  5. Place monitor at Eye Level – The top of your monitor should be at eye level and directly in front of you at an arm’s length distance.
  6. Take a Break – Take micro-breaks during tasks, and rest breaks away from the computer.

For more information on how to comply with the DSE Regulations or if you wish to arrange an Ergonomic Workstation Assessment due to individual health needs contact Alison Biggs on alison@healthywork.org.uk or visit the website at https://healthywork.org.uk

 

How to Set Up Your Workstation Ergonomically

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AME

Alison has carried out 100s of assessments for AME some of which have involved multi disciplinary work with other stakeholders such as physiotherapists, computer technicians. Her work with the NHS and medical knowledge has brought an enhanced level of credibility to the work based employment assessment that she undertakes.

Clients trust her, she is diplomatic and highly professional at all times even when placed under considerable pressure to meet tight deadlines and juggle conflicting priorities.

Andy Taylor, Access Made Easy

ARK Schools

Ergonomic Assessments at ARK in London and at one of the Academies in Elephant and Castle, South london, assessing the ergonomic needs of teachers.

ARK Schools, based in Central london

David Higham Associates

They (the employees) were all happy with the work you did on the day you came in. Thanks a lot for your help. (Workstation Risk Assessments, November 2011)

Tine Nielsen David Higham Associates

Capita Health Solutions

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Alison Biggs from Healthywork Ltd. The reason is simple: she will provide the service that you require.

Healthywork delivered approx 750 Ergonomic Assessment to the customer Royal Bank of Scotland, and other companies in the RBS group such as in Reading, London, Nottingham, Farnborough. Including Direct Line based in Croydon, London, NIG Insurance, Churchill Insurance, Coutts, and Drummonds all based in London etc. Assessments were conducted all over the UK as bank branch based and regional office based assessments were also required.

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Capital International

Healthywork were very efficient and able to help us with several situations. If you need a fresh pair of eyes with a medical focus to look at an employee health issue, I would recommend them.

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Snows Group

We are extremely impressed with the service you have provided and will definitely keep your details on file for any future issues. (FCE performed November 2011)

Samantha Cheesman Group HR Officer, Snows Group

Somek and Associates

I have known and worked with Alison Biggs of Healthywork since 2003. I have always found her to be extremely professional and committed any work project, and very knowledgeable about her specialist field.

Ergonomic Assessments and Functional Capacity Assessments for Medico-legal cases provided in Essex, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and London.

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Healthywork Ltd have been extremely helpful over the last year and provided us with a very good service at very short notice.

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Survey feedback following a DSE Assessment

Well worth having a trained professional actually observe you at your workspace as small adjustments can improve comfort and health.

Sept 2017

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HTG Trading (trading as Hubbard)

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