Office Work Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the worker. Poor worksite design leads to fatigued, frustrated and hurting workers. This rarely leads to the most productive worker.
1. Eye Strain when using Display Screen Equipment
DSE work is visually demanding, so it can make someone aware of eyesight problems they have not noticed before (including changes in eyesight that happen with age).
The Display Screen Equipment Regulations require an employer to provide an eyesight test for a DSE user if they request one. The employer must also pay for the test. This should be a full eye and eyesight test by an optometrist or doctor, including a vision test and an eye examination.
It’s up to the employer how they provide the test. For example, they could let users arrange the tests and reimburse them for the cost later, or they could send all their DSE users to one optician.
Glasses for Display Screen Equipment work
- Employers only have to pay for glasses for DSE work if the test shows an employee needs special glasses prescribed for the distance the screen is viewed at.
- If an ordinary prescription is suitable, employers do not have to pay for glasses.
Helping to reduce potential Eye Strain when using Display Screen Equipment
- Changes in activity Breaking up long spells of DSE work helps prevent eye strain
- Look into the distance from time to time, and blink often.
2. Multiple Screen Use
There is an increase in the use of multiple screens in general offices, particularly where information from several sources is required to complete the task.
An example is a stockbroker who needs to obtain a lot of information simultaneously to make split second decisions about stock prices, and when to buy or sell.
This task requires all available information to be clearly visible
The use of multiple screens may improve performance particularly if 20 % or more of the task requires consolidating of information from more than one source.
However, using multiple screens requires the user to switch back and forth between screens, so there is a concern that the use of multiple screens increases head and neck rotation and can potentially cause discomfort for employees.
Employers must ensure a Workstation Risk Assessment is conducted to assess any risks to the employee using multiple computer screens.
Employees using multiple computer screens should request a workstation assessment to be undertaken by an ergonomic specialist to determine the following:
- Size of Screens used are suitable for the tasks being undertaken
- Size of Characters and Amount of Information on each screen is suitable for adaption to suit the individual user and task being undertaken
- Layout of the Screens on Desk Top gives optimum viewing distance to avoid muscular skeletal and eye strain.
- Positioning of The Screens – Side by Side or In Front and to Either Side to suit the task
- Arm Monitors are used appropriately to allow for adjusting and tilting of the screens for optimum viewing angle
3. Laptop use
Laptop computers are lightweight, portable and convenient.
However, the laptop’s compact design, with attached screen and keyboard, can make users adapt awkward postures creating a muscular skeletal strain on head, neck, shoulders, hands and wrists.
For a comfortable laptop, workstation setup follows the steps below adapting to your individual needs.
- Use a chair that supports a comfortable upright or slightly reclined posture.
- Adopt a Neutral posture with the neck aligned with the spine
- Elbows close to the body and bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees
- Use an external monitor, laptop stand or place your laptop on a stable support surface, such as monitor risers, reams of paper, or phone books to adjust the screen height so that the top of the screen is at eye level
- Use A Docking Station if available
- Use external keyboard, mouse and monitor
- Use a Bag with a handle or strap to transport your laptop. Remove unnecessary items
- Take Regular Stretch Breaks
- Remember your correct posture for health