Ergonomic Devices Provide Finishing Workstation Touches
Now that we’ve covered posture, chairs, and work surfaces, we’ll turn to how the monitor, or visual display terminal (VDT) can further support a quality ergonomic setup.
- The monitor and keyboard should be placed so they are in a straight, direct line with the body.
- The upper line on the monitor should be at the user’s eye level.
- The optimal viewing distance from user’s eyes to the monitor should be between 18 – 30”.
- If the user wears bifocals or trifocals for computer use, the user should consider getting a pair of prescription eyeglasses made exclusively for reading the computer monitor. It is important that the eye care specialist knows the distance between the users eyes and the monitor, so they can prescribe glasses with a sufficient range of focus for monitor use.
- Imperfect lighting and glare can cause eyestrain and fatigue. To decrease glare, monitors should be placed at a 90° angle to windows or other glare sources. Use blinds and window coverings as needed to reduce bright light. Overhead lighting is often a problem for computer users and can be altered with cantilever coverings to redirect light, by turning off overhead lights, or by using spectrum filter (diffuser) light covers. Using task lights to provide focused light where you need it is also a good idea. It is important to remember that as people age their eyes require more light to see adequately.
- Try to avoid using anti-glare screens, as they tend to distort images on the screen.
In conclusion, here is a short list of further refinements that can be made to your workstation to assure your ergonomic success.
- Use of a document holder is encouraged if the worker is required to input information from a document into the computer. This will help the worker to avoid static awkward neck postures. There are many different styles available so it can be customized to the individual function needs, as well as aesthetic preference.
- Footrests are recommended for workers if they are unable to rest their feet flat on the floor when the worker is properly seated at an appropriate height for their workstation. The footrest should have a locking angle adjustment and be large enough to support both feet entirely. It is good to have a non-skid footing so it stays firmly in place.
- If the worker spends a significant time on the phone, while inputting information into the computer, a hands free headset is helpful. This device is also ideal if the worker talks for long periods of time. It is important to avoid cradling the phone between your head and shoulders, as this tends to increase the likelihood of experiencing neck and shoulder pain.