Maintain Workstation Posture

Helpful hints for employees sitting at computer workstations.

By Michael Rich

Millions of people each year sit in front of a computer with an arched back, crooked neck, and other poor posture habits. While many may view the threat of ergonomic-related injury as some type of a fairy tale, the potential for injury from repeated muscle stress is a scientific fact.

To help protect your workers and ensure their productivity, follow these simple tips when at a computer workstation:

  • Keep hands, wrists, and forearms straight, in line, and roughly parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your head level, or bent slightly forward, forward facing, and balanced. Generally, it should be in line with the torso.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and let upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.
  • Make sure elbows stay in close to the body and are bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Always fully support feet by resting them on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Make sure the back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.
  • Ensure thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat and generally parallel to the floor.
  • Maintain knees at the same height as the hips, with the feet slightly forward.

Regardless of how perfect a person’s working position is, sitting in the same position for extended periods is not healthy. Make it a point to educate workers on the importance of changing their work position throughout the day. Simple adjustments they can make include:

  • Small adjustments to the chair height or backrest.
  • Stretching fingers, hands, arms, and torso.
  • Standing up and walking around for a few minutes periodically.

Michael Rich is a safety writer and researcher for Safety Services Company, a supplier of safety training materials in North America. To learn more about the safety solutions it offers, visit www.safetyservicescompany.com

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.