Case study – Office ergonomic assessment

Issue: Frequent user of a personal computer suffering from neck and shoulder pain, especially on the right side.

Stretching wrist at your desk

Step one: Ergonomic assessment

After full assessment it was established that:

  1. Officer worker spent up to 8 hours sitting at the computer per day, with few breaks.
  2. Office worker had heavy usage of the mouse, which was positioned away from the keyboard on the right hand side (RHS).
  3. Telephone was used frequently. Officer worker also tended to cradle handset into the neck to free both hands for computer use.
  4. Office worker had a height adjustable chair and a fixed height desk. Seat height was particularly low, requiring User to rest forearms on the desktop when keying.
  5. Frequently used items (e.g. cell phone, stationery) were positioned at the rear of the desk.

Step two: Recommendations

Home slide 1

  1. Ensure frequent changes of posture occur during the workday e.g. stand up, walk around. Avoid sitting for prolonged periods.
  2. Learn to use the mouse with both hands on the RHS and LHS of the keyboard. In preference, use the “hot keys” on the keyboard as an alternative to frequent use of the mouse. Keep the mouse close to the keyboard.
  3. Obtain a telephone headset from the telephone supplier for use on prolonged calls or when interaction is required with the computer. NEVER cradle the telephone into the neck, as this can cause Musculo-Skeletal Disorders.
  4. Elevate the seat height so the User can key without resting the arms on the desktop.
  5. Bring all frequently used items closer to the seated position to avoid over-reaching.
  6. Incorporate gentle stretches of neck and shoulder muscles two-three times into the workday.
  7. Relax! Muscle pain can result from feeling stressed and tense. Identify aspects of the job that may cause muscle tension and discuss strategies to address these issues.