Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #167 9/19/2012

Question: What are computer ergonomics?


Ergonomics is making equipment and furniture to work best with humans. Having ergonomic equipment helps prevent people getting carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pains, back aches, etc.

There are several things you can do to make your computer environment more ergonomic. The first is setting your keyboard at a good height. The general recommended height for the keyboard is about 25 inches from the floor. You should have an adjustable height chair so you can set the chair at a height where your arms are basically bent at 90 degrees at the elbow when typing.

A wrist pad in front of the keyboard will help support your wrists if you do not type with your wrists in the air. If you do not have a wrist pad you can make one by rolling/folding a hand towel and using in front of the keyboard. (I quite often do this when in motels). Today’s laser mice can operate on any surface but most people find more comfortable using a mouse pad. Mouse pads come in several styles. I like the cloth covered ones best as the mouse has a better feel to me and I can comfortably rest my wrist on it. Yu can get mouse pads that have a raised cushioned area to support the wrists.

You want your screen set basically at eye level for the least strain on your eyes. When using a laptop instead of a stand alone screen adjust the screen so it is basically at same angle as your face looking at it. You will look down at laptop screens.

The keyboard itself can have angles in it to be more comfortable but even flat keyboard there are adjustments on the back so you can angle to make easier on your fingers. Laptop keyboards are limited to the laptop but when you getting cooling units to set under them, some will put the laptop at angles.

As you work at the computer occasionally stop and stretch your hands and fingers and move your head and neck. After a couple hours on the computer, make sure you get up and move around some even if it is just to walk down the hall.

Thanks Evelyn for the question