Sitting in an Office – Safety and Ergonomics

Sitting correctly in an office chair is essential for both safety and ergonomics to prevent discomfort and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Below are some key considerations.

Chair: Select an adjustable chair which provides proper lumbar support, allowing you to maintain the natural curve of your lower back. Ensure that the chair is the appropriate height, and the seat pan is deep enough to support your thighs without putting pressure on the back of your knees. 

Seat Height: Adjust the chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle, and your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Avoid dangling your feet or sitting with your knees higher than your hips. 

Posture: Sit upright with your back against the chair, avoid slouching or leaning forward. Keep your shoulders relaxed and aligned with your hips. Avoid crossing your legs for long periods, as this can restrict blood circulation. 

Desk and Keyboard: Position your desk at an appropriate height which allows your forearms to be parallel to the floor while typing. Keep your wrists straight and avoid excessive bending or extension. Place the keyboard and mouse within reach to minimise stretching or straining. 

Monitor: Position the monitor directly in front of you, at eye level or slightly below eye level. Ensure the screen is at a comfortable viewing distance, usually an arm’s length away. Adjust the monitor’s tilt and brightness to reduce glare and eye strain. 

Document Placement: Place frequently used documents in a document holder positioned at the same height and distance as the monitor. This helps reduce strain on the neck and minimises the need for constant head movement. 

Regular Breaks: Take regular breaks from sitting to stretch and move around. Incorporate micro-breaks throughout the day to stand up, walk, or stretch. Consider using a standing desk or adjustable desk to alternate between sitting and standing positions. 

Lighting: Ensure your workspace is well-lit to reduce eye strain. Avoid glare from windows or overhead lighting by using blinds or curtains and positioning the monitor suitably. Supplement ambient lighting with task lighting if necessary. 

Accessories: Use ergonomic accessories, such as an adjustable keyboard tray, a wrist rest, or an ergonomic chair cushion, to further enhance comfort and support while sitting. 

Ergonomic Assessment: Conduct regular ergonomic assessments of your workstation to identify and address any issues or discomfort. Templates are available via iProtectU Health and Safety software. Consult with an ergonomics professional if needed. 

Maintaining good posture, taking breaks, and incorporating regular movement are important factors when avoiding prolonged sitting-related health issues. Adhering to ergonomic principles in your office setup can significantly contribute to your overall comfort and welfare. 

iProtectU provides Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessment forms and allows a user to create, edit and document a risk assessment regarding the use of an office workstation. 

iProtectU brings together the key resources and knowledge of three companies specialising in EHS software development, health and safety, business intelligence and data analytics. 

Our vision is to provide fully integrated, cost effective and simple to use health and safety software tools that enable our clients to engage their entire team. 

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