Setting up a workstation properly can be challenging, especially if you are tasked with doing this for several individuals. Each person is unique in their stature; therefore, every workstation should have the adjustability to meet specific needs. There is not “magic” setup that is going to be a fit for all, but there are several ergonomic factors that all workstations should have in common. Below I have provided a comprehensive list of components that should ensure a comfortable work environment.
- Head and neck should be upright (not bent down/back).
- Head, neck and trunk should face forward (not twisted).
- Trunk should be close to perpendicular to floor (not leaning forward/backward).
- Shoulders and upper arms should be about perpendicular to floor (not stretched forward) and relaxed (not elevated).
- Upper arms and elbows should be close to body (not extended outward).
- Forearms, wrists, and hands should be straight and parallel to floor (not pointing up/down).
- Wrists and hands should be straight (not bent up/down or sideways toward little finger).
- Thighs should be about parallel to floor and lower legs to be about perpendicular to floor.
- Feet should rest flat on floor or be supported by a stable footrest.
- Backrest should provide support for employee’s lower back (lumbar area).
- Seat width and depth should accommodate specific employee (seatpan not too big/small).
- Seat front should not press against back of employee’s knees & lower legs (seat not too long).
- Seat should have cushioning and be rounded/ have “waterfall” front (no sharp edge).
- Armrests should support both forearms while employee performs tasks and should not interfere with movement.
- Keyboard/input device platform(s) should be stable/large enough to hold keyboard & input device
- Input device (mouse or trackball) should be located right next to keyboard so it can be operated without reaching.
- Input device should be easy to activate, and shape/size should fit hand of employee (not too big/small).
- Wrists and hands should not rest on sharp or hard edge.
- Top line of screen should be at or below eye level, so employee is able to read without bending head or neck down/back. (For employees with bifocals/trifocals, see next item.)
- Employee w/bifocals/trifocals should able to read screen without bending head or neck backward.
- Monitor distance should allow employee to read screen without leaning head, neck or trunk forward/backward.
- Monitor position should be directly in front of employee, so employee does not have to twist head or neck.
- No glare (e.g., from windows, lights) is present on the screen which might cause employee to assume an awkward posture to read screen.
- Thighs should have clearance space between chair table/keyboard platform (thighs not trapped).
- Legs and feet should have clearance space under desk, so employee is able to get close enough to keyboard/input device.
- Document holder, if provided, should be stable and large enough to hold documents that are used.
- Document holder, if provided, should be placed at about the same height and distance as monitor screen so there is little head movement when employee looks from document to screen.
- Wrist rest, if provided, should be padded and free of sharp and square edges.
- Wrist rest, if provided, should allow employee to keep forearms, wrists and hands straight and parallel to ground when using keyboard/input device.
- Telephone should be used with head upright (not bent) and shoulders relaxed (not elevated) if employee does computer tasks at the same time.
- Workstation and equipment should have enough adjustability so that the employee is able to be in a safe working posture and make occasional changes in posture while performing tasks.
- Workstation, equipment and accessories should be maintained in serviceable condition and function properly.
If I can be of any assistance to you or if you have any questions, please connect with me by your favorite platform below. I would love to start a conversation!
Kevin Winn B.S., CIEE, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Kevin is the Executive Director of HealthWorks Kinesiology and is a Certified Industrial Ergonomic Evaluator (CIEE), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT). Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from Louisiana Tech University.