Ergonomics Equipment

This ergonomics equipment article summarizes what you need to know about your workstation and how to set up an ergonomic workstation.

We wrote this as a helpful cheat sheet to highlight important points of ergonomic office equipment. You are advised to read all as one component of ergonomics equipment affects the other.

Chairs | Keyboard Trays | Keyboards | Monitors/Monitor Arms | Pointing Devices (Mice) | Work Stations | Foot Rests | Laptop Ergonomics chair



Chairs

A good chair gives you good back support, helps you attain the ideal computer posture and greatly contributes to a comfortable and healthier work environment.

Read more about how to buy a good ergonomic chair.

Also read on How to Adjust your Chair for Maximum Ergonomic Benefit (you might want to read this first to figure out if you need a new chair)

While investing in a good ergonomic chair has its benefits, we have to remember that the human body was not designed to sit for long periods of time. Establish good work habits like getting up from your chair when taking breaks etc.

Read more about the variety of ergonomic computer chairs.

ktrays

Keyboard Trays

Keyboard trays are one of the most underestimated ergonomics equipment for an ergonomic workstation. I would rate it second most important, after the ergonomic chair.

Why?

The keyboard tray facilitates the elbows and wrists to be in a neutral position when one is typing. This prevents carpal tunnel and wrists pain and even shoulder strain (because you are not hunching your shoulders upwards when using a keyboard tray).


Cornell ergonomics has established that a downward sloping position of the keyboard is best for typing. So, ideally your ergonomic keyboard tray has that adjustable feature.

Also, some of these sophisticated keyboard trays has a separate mouse base, so as to not interfere with mousing activities. Do you know that the worst position for a keyboard and mouse combo is to be side by side each other on the same plane?

See more detail in our detailed coverage of these ergonomics equipment on ergonomic keyboard trays.

When adding a keyboard tray to your list of ergonomics equipment, be sure that your chair's armrests are not in the way of your keyboard. Anyway, I personally feel that armrests aren't necessary and most of them can be taken out with a screwdriver.

keyboards

Keyboards

There are various types of ergonomic keyboards - natural keyboards, split design keyboards, fixed angle keyboards.

While all of these are great, don't forget the positioning of those keyboards are half the battle. Learning to type properly and ergonomically is probably the other half. See also Typing ergonomics.

What kind of keyboard should you choose? It depends on how much you type, and mostly how comfortable you can get with these alternative keyboards.

See the variety of ergonomic keyboards here. monitor

Monitors/Monitor Arms

Your monitor should be at eye level or slightly below, at a comfortable glare-filtered angle from the monitor itself and other sources of bright light like the window or a bright lamp. Be aware of other issues of unexpected glare from ceiling lights etc. It should be at a comfortable viewing distance. If you need to refer to a document to do your work, you should use a document holder.

Check to see if your current monitor is ergonomic - Ergonomic Monitors for a more complete understanding.

The use of Monitor arms?

If you read deeper into Monitor Ergonomics, you'll realize that everyone should personalize their own monitor's height.

This means that the ideal height of your monitor differs for you and me. Of course, this won't be a problem if we all had our own computers. If your office has a shared computer, or in a learning lab where many people use the same computer each day, it would be wise to invest in an ergonomic monitor stand/arm. mice

Pointing Devices (Mice)

Placement of the mouse is as important as the importance of an ergonomic mouse, one that fits your hand and the way you use it. Make sure you are sitting high enough to be slightly below elbow height so that your hand naturally rests on the mouse.

An ergonomic mouse promotes the neutral position of your wrist. While it reduces harm, it cannot control how you use it i.e. do not bend your wrist upward.

The computer mouse has gotten very sophisticated these days, ranging from the patented award winning 3M ergonomic mouse which the Arthritis Foundation recommends, to mousing in various forms, for example, ergonomic mouse-pens, to touch-pads etc.

The traditional mouse came in one size and was designed for right-handers. These days, you can get a computer mouse in different sizes to accommodate the right size for your hand, in both left handed and right handed versions.

Don't overlook the Importance of stability - Your mouse should not be too slippery and your mouse-pad has enough resistance to be neither too slippery or exerting too much friction. You'll know this when you start to experience ache or frustration from mousing.

workstation

Work Stations

As said earlier under "Chair" (scroll up), we'll all have to adjust one of these two: the height of our desk or height of your chair.

Workstation Ergonomics establishes that standard workstations cannot accommodate everyone's needs. Adjustable workstations and ergonomic equipment may be needed in situations when there are more than one person using the same work station.

Some quick ergonomic work stations tips

1. Organize the frequently-used components of your ergonomics equipment/workstation near you to avoid over reaching.

2. Desk should be matte to reduce glare.

3. Desk should be uncluttered to give enough space to work.

4. Desk should be uncluttered below to give room for legs to move.

5. An ergonomic footrest should be used if your legs are dangling (after adjusting height of desk/chair) to achieve an ideal work posture.

6. If you use the phone frequently, please use a head set. This is to prevent neck strain and the development of unnatural neck posture.

7. Switch mouse hands to minimize the stress on one hand.

8. Use a document holder if you need to constant refer to notes when working.

Ses OSHA.GOV for more ergonomic workstation suggestions. footrest

Foot Rests

They are recommended to relieve pressure on lower back and thighs.

Preferably, use a footrest that is height adjustable.

See Ergonomic Chair Adjustment for more information on how to use a footrest correctly.

See also our recommended ergonomic foot rest. laptop

Laptop Ergonomics

Laptops are not recommended for long time use - i.e. more than two hours a day. The use of laptop computers as full replacements of desktops can pose long term threats to health.

Why? when you adjust your laptop for your wrist, it fails the ergonomic risk assessment for ergonomic monitor eye level. It's a catch 22.

The ergonomic risks can be minimized using additional ergonomics equipment such as an ergonomic laptop stand, and using a separate keyboard and mouse.

See also Laptop Ergonomics for more detailed information.




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