Keenan Blog

The goal of the Keenan Blog is to provide a forum where we can come together to discuss issues and cultivate the solutions that will have a meaningful impact on your organization.

Simple Office Ergo Solutions

Kathy Espinoza 12/2/2015
Kathy Espinoza

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I’m often asked about simple, common solutions to issues that I see most often during ergonomics evaluations.  Most employees request the ‘latest and greatest equipment with all the bells and whistles” but what I most often find is a basic mismatch between their current office equipment and the employee.  Simply stated, they have good equipment but it needs to be adjusted to fit the employee’s shape and size.

Monitors:

  • When using the monitor, the goal is to see the entire screen without moving the neck.
  • Many ailments can be attributed to a monitor that is not positioned properly:
    • Neck discomfort (improper monitor height, monitor not centered to user)
    • Eye strain (distance of monitor, too much glare, improper angle of screen)
  • Solutions:
    • For fixed height monitors at a dedicated desk, consider a monitor stand.
    • For adjustable height monitors with multiple users, consider a monitor arm.
  • blog_ergonomics_02Multiple Monitors:
    • The wider the monitors, the more side-to-side head motions.  Can you minimize the screen and place two documents on one screen?
    • If using two monitors, identify the primary one and place that one directly in front of the employee.
    • Be sure both monitors are adjustable.
  • Proper Monitor Placement:
    • Monitor should be about an ‘arms length’ away.
    • Top of the monitor screen should be at eye height for normal or computer vision.
    • With bifocals, monitor should be lowered and angled down a bit.

Input Devices (Mouse/Keyboard/Tray):

  • Many ailments can be attributed to improper input device placement:
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (resting on wrist while typing or angled wrists)
    • Shoulder/Neck pain (improper height of the keyboard)
    • Elbow Tendinitis (resting and leaning on the elbow)
  • Solutions:
    • For fixed workstations at a dedicated desk, raise chair and use a footrest.
    • For multiple users, consider an adjustable keyboard tray.

Chair:

  • Many ailments can be attributed to the chair:
    • Back pain (lack of lumbar support, seat pan too large for employee)
    • Knee pain (chair doesn’t have the correct sized seat pan, improper seat height)
    • Sciatic pain (back of the thigh is hitting the front edge of chair/chair too big)
  • Solutions:
    • Find a chair with an adjustable height lumbar support.  This means being able to raise and lower the backrest, as well as being able to bring it closer to the body.
    • Find a chair with a seat pan adjuster, usually called a seat slider.  This feature can shorten the seat pan if the chair is too large.
    • Make sure it has the proper adjustment features and teach the employee how to adjust it!
    • Armrests can be optional.  Will the armrests interfere with the keyboard?  Will they not allow the employee to pull their chair close enough to work with their elbows near the midline of their body?
    • Many users need the armrests because they have conditions where the armrests help them get in and out of the chair.
    • For a chair with armrests, be sure the armrests can be adjusted.  Not just up and down but in and out as well.

Good ergonomics and repetitive injury prevention does not need to be an expensive proposition. The real savings is from the chronic pain and injuries avoided through proper adjustment of equipment and employee training.