Serving Colorado's Counties

Technical Update vol. 26 no. 21 - Maintain Proper Ergonomic Positioning and Good Posture to Help Avoid Injuries

May 24, 2022

To understand the best way to set up a computer workstation, it is helpful to understand the concept of neutral body positioning. This is a comfortable working posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system. It also reduces your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder.

The following are important considerations when attempting to maintain neutral body postures while working at the computer workstation:

  • Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line, and parallel to the floor.
  • Head is level, forward facing, balanced, and in line with the torso.
  • Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms hang with the elbows slightly forward from the side of the body.
  • Elbows stay in close to the body and are bent at 90
  • Feet are fully supported by floor or footrest.
  • Back is fully supported with good lumbar support while sitting upright.
  • Thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat, fitting the user’s height with 1” or more of space
        from the back of the knee.
  • Knees are just slightly lower than the hips, with the feet slightly forward.

The image below illustrates the difference between an incorrect sitting position and a proper neutral body position. Notice how the spine and joints are aligned in the correct sitting position.

Correct and wrong sitting posture. Workplace ergonomics Health Benefits. Office space setup.

Regardless of how good your working posture is, sitting or standing still in the same posture for prolonged periods is not healthy. Get up and frequently move throughout the day and practice safe stretching exercises often. If working on a laptop, use an auxiliary keyboard and mouse to maintain a proper ergonomic setup. Also, home office workers should use adjustable ergonomic chairs while working from tabletops or desks.

What This Means to Counties

Hours spent working on a computer can take a toll on our bodies. Setting up an ergonomic workstation and maintaining a neutral body posture can help offset this toll. CTSI offers several video courses on workplace ergonomics such as Seated Worker Ergonomics Basics and Ergonomic Essentials for the Office at www.ctsi.org. For assistance on creating an ergonomic work environment, please contact any member of the CTSI Loss Control Team at 303 861 0507.

A PDF of this Technical Update is available here.

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