Computer Ergonomics

Ergonomics and human factors use knowledge of human abilities and limitations to design systems, organizations, jobs, machines, tools, and consumer products for safe, efficient, and comfortable human use.

Table of Contents

  1. Compter Setup
  2. Using Keyboard
  3. Using Mouse
  4. Stretching
  5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Phalen's Test
  6. Computer Electromagnetic Radiation

 

Computer Setup

Use a good chair with a dynamic chair back and sit back. The eye-level should be the same as the level of the monitor. You should be able to see the contents in the monitor without bending your neck. No glare on screen, use an optical glass anti-glare filter where needed. Sit at arms length from monitor as a good viwing distance. Feet on floor or stable footrest. Use a document holder, preferably in-line with the computer screen. Wrists flat and straight in relation to forearms to use keyboard/mouse/input device. Arms and elbows relaxed close to body. Top of monitor casing 2-3" (5-8 cm) above eye level. Use a negative tilt keyboard tray with an upper mouse platform or downward tiltable platform adjacent to keyboard. Center monitor and keyboard in front of you. Use a stable work surface and stable (no bounce) keyboard tray.

  1. Use a good chair with a dynamic chair back and sit back.
  2. The eye-level should be the same as the level of the monitor. You should be able to see the contents in the monitor without bending your neck.
  3. No glare on screen, use an optical glass anti-glare filter where needed.
  4. Sit at arms length from monitor as a good viwing distance.
  5. Feet on floor or stable footrest.
  6. Use a document holder, preferably in-line with the computer screen.
  7. Wrists flat and straight in relation to forearms to use keyboard/mouse/input device.
  8. Arms and elbows relaxed close to body.
  9. Top of monitor casing 2-3" (5-8 cm) above eye level.
  10. Use a negative tilt keyboard tray with an upper mouse platform or downward tiltable platform adjacent to keyboard.
  11. Center monitor and keyboard in front of you.
  12. Use a stable work surface and stable (no bounce) keyboard tray.

 

Using Keyboard

Keep the keyboard flat. The hands and the keyboard should be parallel and perpendicular. Do not use the built-in tips that elevates the back of the keyboard.

Using Mouse

Switch hands for using the mouse periodically. Keep the hand and wrist straight.

 

Stretching

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a compression of the median nerve in the wrist. Symptoms include pain and numbness in the hand (especially at night), clumsiness, paresthesia (pins and needles), and trophic changes (such as muscle wasting). In a true CTS, these are felt where the median nerve goes: the palm side of the index and middle fingers and part of the thumb and ring finger. Conservative treatment without surgical intervention will usually give relief, especially if done early after onset.

Similar symptoms can also be due to nerve compression in the neck, shoulder or arm from such things as tight neck or shoulder muscles (ie: thoracic outlet syndrome or pectoral muscle contracture) or poor neck mechanics to name a few. These other problems are often mis-diagnosed as CTS. To help see if you have a true carpal tunnel syndrome or not, use Phalen's test.


Phalen's Test

Place the backs of both of your hands together and hold the wrists in forced flexion for a full minute. (Stop at once if sharp pain occurs) . If this produces numbness or "pins and needles" along the thumb side half of the hand, you most likely have Median nerve entrapment (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). Examination by a health care professional familiar with these conditions is the way to be sure of the diagnosis and get proper treatment.

Keyboards: Be sure to get the height right to prevent too much bend at the wrist and allow the forearm to have some support. The arms should hang loose to prevent the shoulder muscles from cramping. Many keyboards can tilt; unfortunately, most of them tilt the wrong way. If any thing the keyboard should tilt to help the wrist stay straight, which is to say raising the space bar end and lowering the "top"(the F1, F2 etc.) end. Tilting the key board the other way, (space bar lower and "top" row higher) can set you up for carpel tunnel syndrome.

Treatment Effective conservative treatment of CTS should include:

Seeing your Chiropractor for a check up to keep the joints mobile and mechanically well aligned is a great aid. These treatments can minimize the formation of CTS as well as decreasing its pain and impact on your job and lifestyle. While seeing your Chiropractor, ask for more details about what is best for you, personally, regarding work habits, exercise and stretching to promote good health and in the prevention and /or management of carpal tunnel syndrome. (The information is from http://www.klis.com/computers+health/ )

 

Computer Electromagnetic Radiation

Your health may be effected by radiation given off by your computer. Computers do generate very low levels of infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays and electromagnetic fields. Recent studies have raised some concerns about ELF and VLF waves, PCBs, ultrasound, electrostatic fields and other emissions as well.

Extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic waves are produced by high voltage power lines, transformers, virtually everywhere electricity flows, including a VDT screen. Very low frequency (VLF) electromagnetic waves are also emitted by computers.

Much of the current, (no pun intended), data regarding how much radiation is safe, and how safe is safe, is inconclusive or even contradictory. After much searching and due consideration, I suggesst the following prudent course of action.

Recommendations:

1. Keep your distance. Electromagnetic radiations follows the inverse square rule, which is to say the further away you are from the source, the weaker they get and they do so quickly. You can protect yourself with space. I recommend you stay at least 75 centimeters (30 inches) from your terminal and at least one meter (40 inches) from other terminals.

2. Keep it fixed. X-ray production increases dramatically when the VDT is damaged, improperly maintained, or just plain worn out. PCBs are sometimes released by very old VDT models (ie built before 1970).

3. Limit your time. If you have to sit at the computer for hours every day, you should seriously consider limiting how much time you spend playing video games and watching TV at home. This is most especially true if you are pregnant.

(The information is from http://www.klis.com/computers+health/ )