Much of the office-based workforce sits for eight or more hours per day at a desk in front of a computer. Implementing basic ergonomic findings to minimise strain, twisting, carpal tunnel, tendonitis and other undesirable side effects will lead to healthier, more content employees.
Seating at a computer workstation should support postures that can frequently be changed throughout the day. The setup configuration of screen, desk, keyboard, mouse and chair should not only accommodate the work being done but allow for an employee’s individual differences and preferences. Lighting is also another factor in workstation ergonomics, where overhead flickering fluorescent lights can induce migraines or having lighting too low, too bright or wrongly placed can induce eye strain.
Some workers may be far or near sighted, therefore require sitting at different distances from the screen or need to have the monitor set at different resolutions. Others may need to sit higher or lower in relationship to the desk or need to frequently turn towards scanners, printers and phones.
Having poor ergonomics can lead to low worker morale, poorer health, more frequent absentee days and a higher incidence of compensation claims. As research into the field progresses, employers will be encouraged to offer their workers more opportunity for physical movement and variety of tasks to break up the routine of the day and minimise strains due to repetition and immobility.
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Expertise in Action
Experts in office ergonomics may be asked to give an opinion on workers compensation claims. They may be asked to assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of desk-chair-screen configurations in maximising worker comfort and efficiency.
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Ergonomic guide to computer based workstations
This guide explains how to set up computer workstations to suit individual needs and the type of
work performed at the workstation. Having appropriate furniture and equipment allows the individual to improve the set up at their workstation, increase their comfort and reduce potential injury.
7 major health risks of sedentary work
A sedentary lifestyle is becoming increasingly common among workers, particularly for those who work in an office environment, with more than 75% of the office workday spent sitting. Sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time can be damaging to health and for many workers this extends for much longer periods.
Cross and Comcare (Compensation)  AATA 52
A worker unsuccessfully made a claim for compensation arising from carpal tunnel syndrome which she alleged was caused by performing data entry at Centrelink.
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