The use of computers in the workplace has increased dramatically in recent years with a transition from more physically challenging to sedentary working conditions. This change to more static work postures, often in front of computers for prolonged periods, has lead to an increase in the number of work-related neck and upper limb injuries. Even a small posture or workstation irregularity can lead to on-going problems due to the length of time people spend in sedentary positions at work.
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (General Regulations) 2007 employers are required to evaluate health and safety at workstations with particular reference to eyesight, physical difficulties and mental stress. A guideline is available for employers at www.hsa.ie
The following is a brief outline of what to look for:
– Images/characters should be clear and well defined on the screen
– Monitor should be able to tilt and swivel
– Top of the screen (not the monitor) should be at eye level and approximately arms length away from you
– Monitor should be directly in front of you without any need to rotate your head to see the screen
– Keyboard should be able to tilt and be separate to the monitor
– Sufficient space to move your keyboard to allow for comfortable positioning of your hands, wrists and forearms
– Keyboard should be directly in front of you without any need to rotate your body to use it
– Lead should be sufficiently long to position the mouse where your hand can rest comfortably on it without having to stretch
– Mouse should glide smoothly without unnecessary force
– Chair should be height adjustable so that your feet can remain flat on the floor when you are correctly seated
– Back of the chair should be adjustable in both height and tilt.
– Armrests should be height adjustable so that the chair can be rolled in under the desk to allow the forearms to rest of the work desk
– Work desk should be of sufficient size to hold and allow for adjustment of the monitor, keyboard and other work materials