Overuse injuries are one of the biggest risks law firms face in regards to workers’ compensation injuries. The following is a list of basic ergonomic tips to avoid overuse injuries:
Place the keyboard in a position that allows the forearms to be close to the horizontal and the wrists straight. That is, with the hand in line with the forearm. If this causes the elbows to be held far out from the side of the body, then re-check the work surface height.
Some people prefer to have their wrists supported on a wrist rest or the desk. Be careful not to have the wrist extended or bent in an up position.
Adjust the seat tilt so that you are comfortable when you are working on the keyboard. Usually, this will be close to horizontal, but some people prefer the seat tilted slightly forwards.
Your knees should be bent at a comfortable angle and greater than 90º flexion. If this places an uncomfortable strain on the leg muscles or the feet do not reach the floor, then a footrest should be used. The footrest height must allow your knees to be bent at 90º; the footrest height may need to be adjustable.
Adjust the backrest so that it supports the lower back when you are sitting upright. A range of chairs is available.
Avoid cradling the phone between your head and shoulder when answering calls. If you need to use your computer simultaneously, use a headset or the phone’s hands-free/speaker-phone capabilities if the environment is suitable.
Set the eye-to-screen distance at the distance that permits you to focus on the screen most easily. Usually, this will be within an arm’s length.
Set the monitor’s height so that the top of the screen is below eye level, and the bottom of the screen can be read without a marked inclination of the head. Usually, this means that the center of the screen will need to be near shoulder height. Your eyes should be level with the toolbar.
People who wear bifocal or multi-focal lenses will need to balance where they see out of their lenses and avoid too much neck flexing. The height of the monitor can be adjusted using a monitor riser.
Place the document holder close to the monitor screen in the position that causes the least twisting or inclination of the head.
Adjust the height of the work surface and/or the chair’s height so that the work surface allows your elbows to be bent at 90º, forearms parallel with the floor, wrist straight, shoulders relaxed.
Place all controls and task materials within a comfortable reach of both hands so that there is no unnecessary twisting of any part of the body. Most people prefer the document holder to be between the keyboard and the monitor. There are many different types of document holders available.