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Posted on 06-16-2011

Millions of people work with computers every day, especially those in Edison Park. This article will explain simple principles that will help you create a safe and comfortable computer workstation.

There are basic design goals, to consider when setting up a computer workstation or performing computer-related tasks, such as sitting at your desk at work. To understand the best way to set up a computer workstation, it's helpful to understand the concept of neutral body positioning.


This is a comfortable working posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system and reduces your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

Neutral Body Postures:

 • Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor.

• Head is level or bent slightly forward, forward facing, and balanced. Generally it is in-line with the torso.

• Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.

 • Elbows stay in close to the body and are bent between 90 and 120 degrees.

• Feet are fully supported by the floor or a footrest may be used if the desk height is not adjustable.

• Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.

• Thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat and generally parallel to the floor.

• Knees are about the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward.

Regardless of how good your working posture is, working in the same position or sitting still for prolonged periods isn't healthy. Change your working position frequently throughout the day by: 1) making small adjustments to your chair or backrest; 2) stretching your fingers, hands, arms, and torso; and 3) standing and walking around for a few minutes periodically.

 If you're still unsure if you're sitting correctly, come in to our Northwest side office and let Dr. Cynthia Seaman assess you!


SOURCE: The United States Department of Labor; photo from Integrated Safety Management, Berkeley Lab.

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