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

 

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