Ideal Office Work Station
In the last article, What is an Ergonomic chair?, we looked at the specifications that constitute a good or ergonomic chair. In this article, we will discuss about features of an ideal work station and how these ergonomic chairs play a role in our work station to help minimize strain on the musculoskeletal system.
Height of work table
Work station surface
Having discussed the key features of an ideal work station, let us now look at how to optimally use the ergonomic chair in our work station.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to fit almost the shortest female to almost the tallest male in the targeted demographic group. Below are some tips on using the ergonomic chair:
The user should be able to sit against the back rest with comfort and still have about 2’’ between the edge of the seat to the back of the knees. If this is not possible, adjust the seat depth accordingly.
Height of chair
Should be such that when the user’s back is supported, the feet are flat on the ground and the height of the table should be at elbow level. If the table is not adjustable, it is important to have the table at elbow height. If this means that the feet are no longer supported on the ground, a foot stool is then required.
Tilt angle of the chair
Traditionally, most people have been advised to seat at 90’, i.e. with the back upright. Current research show that if the back is tilted at 100? to 130?, the muscle activation in the lower back as well as disc loading falls dramatically. However, the lower the tilt, the more neck and shoulder flexion would be required to do the same work. So, we create a new problem by solving one. What then is the solution? If the user has primarily a back problem, then perhaps, the chair should be tilted at 100?. If the user has primarily a neck problem, then the chair should perhaps be angled at 90? to minimize shoulder and neck strain.
Should be adjusted downwards or inwards, so that the chair can be pulled in as close to the table as possible to allow the forearm to rest on the table.
Monitor and Keyboard
The placement of monitor and keyboard is also important. Poor positioning of the monitor can result in neck pains, headache and myopia. The screen should be about 30cm away from the user’s eyes and the first line of the computer screen should be at eye level. Therefore, laptops should be raised so that excessive neck flexion can be avoided.
Keyboards should be placed on the table at a 90° elbow bend, with shoulders dropped and completely relaxed. As for laptops, an external keyboard is advisable. The mouse should be placed close to the body to prevent having the shoulder and arm stretched out.