|Eliminating the Pains and Strains of Computer Use|
Most would agree that computers are not inherently user-friendly. Many find a computer to be painful while others find daily computer use require significant effort. These pains and strains of computer use are even more pronounced when the user is dealing with:
We need more light to read but less to look at the computer screen. Combining signi?cant overhead or direct light with an already illuminated computer monitor produces glare.
Have you pushed your monitor to the back of the desk to make room for papers, folders, and your coffee cup? You may be unknowingly placing your monitor too far away.
To see more easily:
To reduce glare:
Customizing Your PC
A monitor arm adapts the monitor position to the user, instead of the user having to adjust to the monitor.
A worker who needs to move the monitor closer in order to see can do so while still maintaining a comfortable position against the office chair.
Are you using the mouse that came with your PC? For many the standard issue pointing device is fine, while for others it can be a struggle. Be sure to explore all devices and positioning options.
Thinking Outside the Mouse: Keyboard Tips
Reduce 'mouse dependency' by using keyboard shortcuts (see below).
Make use of the 'built in' keys on the standard keyboard (e.g., the windows key for the start menu).
Try alternative mice and keyboards that have their own shortcut buttons.
Most programs can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts, but you don't have to learn all of them. Instead, start with four or ?ve in your most used programs and learn some basic desktop shortcuts.
CTRL+Z = Close current window
ALT+SPACE+C = Undo
ALT+TAB = Switch between running programs
Customizing Your PC
A note for Mac users:
This guide was written with the PC user in mind. The computer settings and keyboard functions for the Macintosh operating systems will be different. Users will ?nd plenty of options built into the Mac computers and are encouraged to contact Apple for more information
Trackballs come in all shapes and sizes and some have extra buttons for additional functions.
Where a standard mouse requires arm motion, a trackball requires ?nger motion. Some users may ?nd the trackball more effective as well as more comfortable.
Keyboards come in various shapes and sizes. Many keyboards allow for alternative positions and motions while typing. Some users may ?nd these differences make typing easier or more comfortable.
Proper ergonomic positioning is essential for a safe and comfortable workstation. Learning how to adjust the primary components of your workstation, use safe work habits, and manage your breaks effectively is, in a word...Smart.
Always sit against the backrest.
Leaning forward requires your back, shoulders and arms to work excessively during computer use.
Keep your wrists straight.
Bent wrists are a primary risk factor for developing disorders such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Notice bent wrists & keyboard
are tilted upward.
wrists & keyboard laying ?at.
A keyboard tray offers versatility with keyboard positioning and usually has space for a mouse. Most trays are adjustable for height and tilt, which can help many users achieve a relaxed and safe position while typing and clicking.
Make sure your monitor is placed in front of you so that you can look directly at it without turning your neck.
Right Height Test
The monitor should be positioned at a level that when your eyes open, your natural line of sight is two inches from the top of the screen.Are your glasses a pain in the neck?
If your glasses require you to look through the bottom of the lens to see the computer screen (e.g. bifocal, progressive lenses), you may be holding your head and neck in an awkward position.
Breaks & Exercise Smarts
The human body was not meant to be stationary for hours at a time. Taking regular breaks and incorporating exercises into those breaks are both essential components to workstation ergonomics.
Steps to becoming an "Of?ce Athlete"
Workstation exercises take little time and can be done throughout the workday. They help energize the body, relieve muscle tension, and help reduce risk of injury.
When working from paper to computer, a document holder can help you maintain your head in a natural position and avoid awkward, repetitive head motions.
Cradling the telephone handset between your head and shoulder is a dangerous posture. If a speakerphone is not an option while multitasking, a telephone headset will keep your hands free.
For some this is a preference for comfort, for others it is a necessity for proper lower body support.
If overhead lighting is reduced to help limit glare on the computer screen, a task light can provide the necessary light for paperwork.
Many computer users don't have much use for the numbers pad on a standard keyboard. A mouse caddy is a simple solution that brings the mouse closer to the center, and takes advantage of this valuable space
To Request on-site ergonomic assessment by the USDA Target Center, contact them at:
The USDA TARGET Center
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250