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ealthy Computing Tips

Healthy Computing: Workstation Condition

© Erik Peper PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by Erik Peper PhD. View all columns in series
When working in an office, we accept the ergonomic situation as it is. Often, the set-up is not optimum and may increase the risk of discomfort. Decrease your risk and enhance your health when you check your WORKSTATION CONDITIONS.


Use the following checklist, Workstation Conditions*. To any question that you answered with NO, explore strategies to reduce the risk of injury.

Your chair is designed or arranged so that...

  1. Backrest provides support for employee's lower back (lumbar area). YES/NO
  2. Seat width and depth accommodate specific employee (seat pan not too big/small). YES/NO
  3. Seat front does not press against the back of employee's knees and lower legs (seat pan not too long). YES/NO
  4. Armrests support both forearms while employee performs VDT (monitor) tasks and do not interfere with movement. YES/NO
  5. Seat has cushioning and is rounded/has 'waterfall front' (no sharp edges) YES/NO

The keyboard and mouse are designed or arranged for data entry so that...

  1. Keyboard/input device platform(s) is stable and large enough to hold keyboard and input device. YES/NO
  2. Keyboard is split to allow wrists to be straight while performing data entry. YES/NO
  3. Keyboard is without ten key pad (for those who do not perform numerical data entry) so that the mouse can be located closer to the center. YES/NO
  4. Input device (mouse or trackball) is located right next to keyboard so it can be operated without reaching. YES/NO
  5. Input device is easy to activate and shape/size fits hand of specific employee (not too big/small). YES/NO

The monitor is designed or arranged so that...

  1. Top line of screen is at or below eye level so employee is able to read it without bending head or neck down/back. (For employees with bifocals/trifocals, see next item.) YES/NO
  2. Employee with bifocals/trifocals is able to read screen without bending head or neck backward. YES/NO
  3. Monitor distance allows employee to read screen without leaning head, neck or trunk forward/backward. YES/NO
  4. Monitor position is directly in front of employee so employee does not have to twist head or neck. YES/NO
  5. No glare (e.g., from windows, lights) is present on the screen that might cause employee to assume an awkward posture to read screen. YES/NO

*Adapted from Workstation Check List developed by OSHA. For more detail see:

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holders

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About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco State University. He is President of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe (2005) and past President of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.......more
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