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Work Station Ergonomics
Courtesy, Q13 Fox News
You’ve got a little crick in your neck or a constant twinge in your back. It could be that where you sit and work is set up wrong! Occupational Therapist Laura Griffin from Virginia Mason Medical Center explains how to work "comfortably."
Think about what you do when you get in your car. You adjust your mirrors; your seat and you try to get comfortable. So why wouldn't you do the same at work?
“So my handy dandy measuring tapes is one of my tools!” says Laura Griffin. She is an occupational therapist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. She says bad positioning where you sit at work can lead to bigger problems.
“They don't think about it. They just know they have a little crick in their neck and maybe their exhausted at home and can’t sleep well.”
She says start with your chair first. “You want to be more or less up right or slightly reclined,” says Griffin. “Your feet should be firmly on the floor.” And use each lever to mold the chair to your body in a comfortable sitting position.
“So you want that curve, which is called a ‘lumbar curve’ in the small of your back,” she says. Also, you may want to remove the arm rests or drop them because arm rests that are up too high, push your shoulders up and that creates tension in your shoulders and your neck.”
Next, get everything lined up. “You want to be able to look up and down at the keyboard, your document, and your monitor from the same position,” says Griffin.
Griffin points out: a badly positioned keyboard can cause tendonitis. Most people have their wrists cocked too far back. Griffin says drop your keyboard low enough-maybe on a tray under your desk--so your shoulders are relaxed, your forearms are about parallel to the floor, and your wrists are straight.
“Fold those little legs on the keyboard down. They are actually built incorrectly. We actually want the keyboard tilted slightly away from our body not up and towards us.”
Next, take a look at your where your mouse is positioned. Constant reaching can lead to shoulder pain, says Griffin.
Also, use a document holder. It will minimize twisting and turning your body.
A monitor in the wrong place can cause all kinds of problems. She says tilting it maybe a half-inch is OK, but tilting it up too much you're going to start catching glare from overhead lighting.
"Start by putting your monitor at about arms length-to 30 inches away. The top of the screen should be at, or slightly below eye level and your eyes should look slightly downward when you look at the middle of the screen.”
Last: Griffin highly recommends an earpiece for your phone. In fact, your workplace may pick up the cost--you just need to ask.
It takes about 5 minutes to set up and it can mean a much more comfortable day at work.