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 March 26, 1999 Volume 6, Number 13

About OCN
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Other
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Around
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Year 2000

NOTES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SAFETY, AND ENVIRONMENT

Chair selection is critical in establishing workstation ergonomics

Editor's note: The following piece from Safety, Health and Environment is the first in a series for On Campus News.

Did you know that the University has a policy (AD 8-54) for the "purchasing, modification, and fabrication of furniture"?

Or that you can check out a list of approved workstation/office chairs that includes descriptions, prices, and purchasing information at http://adminsrv.usask.ca/hse/ergonomics/furnchoice.htm ?

The policy and the chair list - the result of combined efforts by Interior Design (Facilities Management), Purchasing, and Health, Safety & Environment - each has a procedural guideline, which you're asked to use when upgrading furniture in your department.

Generally speaking, when you're assessing your workstation to improve on deficiencies, pay close attention to your chair and how you use (or misuse) it.

All the adjustments made on your work surface, keyboard and mouse, monitor, document, accessories, etc. won't help much if you're using a chair that's too small or too big or that can't be adjusted to support you properly.

Look for adjustments on your chair. They're usually located along either side of the seat pan. What does this lever adjust or that tab do? Pull it, push it, twist it and see what the chair does. Then make adjustments aimed at maximizing your comfort and support.

Remember that one size does not fit all. For proper selection, examine the approved list and try out two or three likely candidates for at least a few days. Check out the chair's size, type of backrest, and adjustment features and most important, be sure that it's comfortable for you.

- Fulton Briand,
Health, Safety, and Environment


Some ergonomic tips:

  • Position top of VDT screen at or below eye level.

  • Adjust the keyboard or chair height so that forearms are parallel to the floor or slightly downward.

  • Place mouse next to keyboard.

  • Avoid placing phone between shoulder and your head.

  • Place VDT monitor directly in front of you while at keyboard.

  • Use chair's backrest to provide full support, particularly for the lower back.

  • If necessary, add a task-light to illuminate documents properly.

  • Reduce or eliminate direct glare by using window shades.

  • Screen distance should be adjusted for your eye comfort between 13" - 20".

  • Maintain proper postures, having 90° or greater angles at the hips and knees while feet are supported by the floor or footrest.

  • Give eyes a break by closing them momentarily, gazing in the distance, and blinking frequently.

  • Avoid resting elbows, forearms, or wrists on hard surfaces or sharp edges.

  • Keep a neutral wrist position where the forearms, wrists, and hands are in a straight line.

  • Reduce indirect glare by using a lighter screen background, parabolic glare shield lens on fluorescents, tilting or turning the VDT, or using an anti-glare filter.

  • Use a document holder to place source documents as close to the screen as possible and at the same height and distance.


On Campus News is published by the Office of Communications, University of Saskatchewan.
For further information, visit the web site or contact communications@usask.ca




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