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Work Station Design - FAQs

Please visit Keyboard Ergonomics for more information.

Why does my work station need a design?

An individual work station should provide the operator with maximum flexibility to adjust sitting position, arm and shoulder position and height of work surfaces. The work station should give the operator flexibility to reach, use and observe the screen, keyboard and the document.  It’s important for employees to receive guidance on making good adjustments to ensure a proper match of the employee, the equipment and work methods.

Task considerations: The type of task performed influences the development of fatigue. Therefore, in designing a work station, the type of tasks a worker does should be considered.

What should I do about my posture?

The seat and backrest of the chair should support a comfortable posture permitting occasional variations in the sitting position.  Chair height and backrest angle should be easily adjustable.  A footrest may be necessary for short individuals.

Are my arms in the right place?

When the operator’s hands are resting on the keyboard, the upper arm and forearm should form a right angle.  The hands should be in a reasonably straight line with the forearm.  Long or unusually high reaches should be avoided.  Armrests should permit periodic support as needed.

Do my feet have to be on the floor?

The chair height is correct when the entire sole of the foot can rest on the floor or footrest and the back of the knee is slightly higher than the seat of the chair.  This allows the blood to circulate freely in the legs and feet. 

Can I adjust my screen?

Screens which swivel horizontally and tilt or elevate vertically enable the operator to select the optimum viewing angle.

What kind of desk should I have?

The table or work station should suit the kind of task to be done. It should be large enough for any reference books, files, telephone, or text and also permit different positions of the screen and keyboard. Adjustable surface height is an advantage.

What if I can’t see the screen?

The topmost line of the display should not be higher than the user’s eyes.  The screen and document holder should be the same distance from the eye (to avoid constant changes of focus) and close together so the operator can look from one to the other without excessive movement of the neck or back. The incline of the document holder should be adjustable.  Legibility is a prime consideration in selecting a display screen.  This also applies to document selection.  Legibility factors to be considered include: symbol size and design, contrast, and sharpness.

Can I put my keyboard in my lap?

A movable keyboard is a plus; provided it doesn’t end up in an employees lap! It can be arranged to suit the type of work and the need to consult documents or notes.


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