Computer Ergonomics

Written by Sierra Rein
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Computer ergonomics refers to the scientific positioning of the human body in front of a computer area in a healthy and stress-free manner. It is an observable fact that more and more people are relying on computers, the Internet, and emails to communicate with one another. Thus, this particular science is important for the modern 21st century workplace.

There are five main considerations to take into account when utilizing computer ergonomics: the positioning of the chair, keyboard, mouse, screen and any other office accessories. The chair is perhaps the most important of all, since it will be the main factor regarding stress placed on the lower back and spine. The chair should be ergonomically designed to include headrests, footrests and armrests in addition to adjustable seat height and backrest angle capabilities.

Placing the keyboard and mouse so that the wrists are kept straight with the natural line of the arm is the next step to computer ergonomics. Angle the keyboard away from the body and place it below the line of the desk to reduce strain on the carpal bones and reduce the chance of carpal tunnel syndrome. Put the mouse within the natural Neutral Reach Zone, or the area that can be easily reached by a simple, non-stressed movement of the forearm while the upper arm hangs loosely to the side, and make sure the mouse is symmetrical in form so that one can switch it to the other hand if needed.

The Monitor and Its Place in Computer Ergonomics

In order to prevent neck and eye strain, a computer monitor and any document holders should be kept within direct line of the keyboard and either at or below eye level. This will reduce the amount of asymmetrical movement of the head and neck and should reduce needless focusing and refocusing of the retinas. Reduce glare by pointing monitors away from lighting sources and bright windows, and invest in a glare filter to reduce the chance of computer vision syndrome (CVS), a common ailment that can lead to neck and back pain, headaches, sensitivity to light and eyestrain.

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