Ergonomic Tips at a Glance

Sharp Rees-Stealy Occupational Health recommends the following tips for safety and injury prevention to create a safe and comfortable computer workstation.

Your Chair

  • Adjust the seat pan to give two to three finger’s width between the back of your knees and the front of the seat cushion
  • Adjust your chair so that your hips are slightly above your knees and your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest
  • Sit all the way back in your chair so your back is supported; keep shoulders relaxed 

Your Keyboard

  • Keep elbows by your sides while keying; position your keyboard directly in front of you with forearms flat or slightly downhill
  • Keep your wrists straight above the wrist during keying
  • Use a light touch on the keyboard

Your Monitor

  • Adjust your monitor so that the contrast is high and the brightness is low
  • If you wear corrective lenses, you should be able to view the monitor without tilting your head to see the screen
  • Position the monitor to avoid glare from overhead lights and windows  
  • Position your monitor directly in front of you and aligned with your keyboard
  • The top of the monitor screen should be near eye level and no closer than arm’s length

Your Mouse

  • Avoid using a mouse pad with a wrist rest; use a flat pad
  • Keep your elbow at your side and move your entire forearm rather than moving the mouse with small wrist movements
  • Place the mouse next to and at the same height as the keyboard

Your Phone

  • Keep your neck straight and shoulders relaxed if you use a handheld phone
  • Place your phone on your nondominant side
  • Use a headset if you type, mouse or write while on the phone

Your Work Methods

  • Avoid bending and twisting at the waist when seated
  • Place frequently used items close
  • Stand to reach items that are far from you
  • Take microbreaks every 30 minutes to avoid prolonged computer work; during your breaks, move around by walking or stretching
  • Use a document holder placed directly in front of you to hold paperwork up so that you can see it without bending or twisting your head
  • Use two hands when handling binders or large charts
  • Vary work tasks whenever possible to avoid doing one task repetitively

For More Information
For more information, visit ergonomic consulting or contact Tony Sanchez at 858-505-5487. To learn more about Sharp's occupational health services, please call 858-499-4957. To find a Sharp Rees-Stealy physician, search for a San Diego occupational medicine doctor or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.