Learning basing principles of ergonomics – a science about providing of suitable work conditions and readjustment of work place for worker’s individual characteristics and abilities – it is possible to significantly reduce health problems. Taking into account these basic principles, prevent these inconveniences in your work place and work healthy!
1. Correct posture and back support
Perhaps it sounds tedious, but remember what your parents taught you: do not walk and do not sit with slouched back! If the back is bent, also the lower back is encumbered – these muscles are overstrained, tired, and they start to hurt and cause discomfort.
The head must be kept straight over the shoulders, the back should be straight, and it must be supported against the chair back (ideally if the curvature of lower spine is also supported against the chair back), knees must be slightly higher than the hips, but feet have to be based on the floor. A posture like this gives support for the spine. The pressure is put on the part of spine, which is meant for carrying of weight, therefore the vertebral discs, which can withstand the pressure for a short period of time, are not injured. If there is too much load on the vertebral discs, their liquid is squeezed out, and they become brittle, dramatically accelerating disruption of spine vertebrae.
Since every person has different body proportions, the more are opportunities to adapt the chair, the better, especially thinking about the length of human body and the position of its spine curvature. For people, who have short legs, footrests are very useful.
Experts believe that an opportunity to stop working every 20 – 30 minutes for about 5 minutes in order to take a walk is as important as the correct posture in the chair. Movements accelerate the circulation of blood and oxygen flow to the muscles, which have kept the body in the same position during working hours.
2. Keep your head, neck, and shoulders straight; eyes must be directed towards appropriate direction.
One of the most common mistakes, which computer users make, is that the body is not positioned at the right height and distance in relation to the computer. An objective is to easily work with the keyboard without bending and lifting your head.
Ideally if the chin is positioned around the centre of screen, and the screen is positioned 40 to 46 centimetres away from your eyes. This is a distance where the majority of people see well enough what is written on the screen without leaning forwards.
Leaning forwards or backwards puts pressure on discs of neck vertebrae. These discs, like discs of lower back, are the most vulnerable, as they are not protected by the ribs. Finding the appropriate distance from the screen and reducing its brightness also help to preserve eye muscles. There are no evidences that the usage of computer impairs the vision, but work with computer can fatigue eye muscles, cause irritation, and dryness in the eyes.
Reading materials should be placed in the holder next to the computer screen because constant head turning by more than 6 degrees in both directions fatigues musculature of neck and shoulders.
Another reason why do neck and shoulder muscles are strained is a phone. Avoid talking on the phone, holding it between the ear and the shoulder, as it strains the neck, causing pain of neck muscles and headache. Working at the computer it is better to use the phone with headset and microphone, rather than hand-held handset.
3. Keep your elbows along the sides, arms and wrists – straight
A neutral posture, where the arms and wrists, working with the keyboard, have the smallest load, is a posture, where the shoulders are relaxed, elbows are comfortably placed along the sides, and wrists are forming a straight line.
Wrists and fingers should be comfortably placed on the keyboard table so that wrists and fingers are not stretched, encumbering the musculature of wrists. The carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful nerve disease, which encumbers a grip, is the most serious consequences, which may be caused by prolonged physical load of fingers, wrists, and arms. The first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is fatigue, numbness, or tingling in the fingers.
Experts believe that these problems can be prevented by the correct position of wrist pads, chair handles, and mouse. Also ergonomic keyboards and mouses can help to prevent these problems.