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Office Ergonomics

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. Where possible adjust the window coverings for glare and provide additional task lighting to suit you and your task.
  • Sit closely to the desk. Chairs with fixed armrests are not to be purchased unless there is a medical certificate supporting the requirement for armrest as they prevent the ability to sit closely.
  • 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.

The Safety and Employment Relations team can provide ergonomic keyboards, mice and other workstation equipment for trialing before purchasing. For recommended staff workstation chairs please see Resources below.

Guidelines for Managing Sedentary Work and Static Standing

Sedentary behavior includes sitting, reclining and lying – all of which involve little or no physical activity or energy expenditure.

The practice of continuous ‘static’ standing is also problematic. Static standing involves more extensive muscle activation (and is therefore more fatiguing) and places greater load on the circulatory system, increasing the risk of varicose veins.

Undertaking extended periods of ‘screen based’ work invariably involves fixed postures. No working posture (or equipment/furniture that supports it) is so good that it can be maintained for any length of time without variation. Whilst it is acknowledged that some work tasks are by nature more suited to sitting and some more suited to standing, having the flexibility to alternate between both postures is more optimal. The key message whether sitting or standing is to take the opportunity to move as often as possible. The current advice is to limit sitting or standing in a fixed posture (i.e connected to a computer) to 20- 30 minutes followed by a moving rest break.

Reasonable Adjustment

If you are aware of an employee’s disability, legally you must provide what is regarded 'reasonable adjustment' to accommodate the needs of your employee.

Reasonable adjustments let an employee with disability safely perform the essential requirements of their job. Reasonable adjustments include changes to premises, facilities, equipment, work practices or training that could help a person with disability do a job.

If reasonable adjustments are required to allow an employee with a disability to do his or her job, your costs may be covered by the Government Job Access Employment Assistance Fund. Further information on the fund can be found via the link below.
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