Ergonomics as Practiced at UCLA

Ergonomic Design Can Contribute to Productivity

The UCLA Ergonomics Program is a unique and creative program which offers “ergo-friendly” solutions to a large number of work-related issues. The goal of the program is to help make the work that people do a better fit so that workers are more comfortable, safer, and ultimately working in a more efficient way.

There are four steps recommended by the UCLA Ergonomics Program when a new employee first begins to work at his computer table. Step one is to select an appropriate chair. Work tasks, body size and shape should all be considered when choosing a chair. Be sure that you spine is most comfortable when it is in a “neutral posture” while sitting in the chair.

The second step is selecting an ergonomic keyboard. Articulating keyboard trays can be a good solution, providing optimal positioning of input devices. Make sure the tray does not force you to be too far away from your other work materials, like your telephone.

Making sure that your screen, documents and telephone are well positioned is the third step to an ergonomically healthy workstation. Always be sure that your neck is always in a neutral and relaxed position. Here are suggestions as to how to place your monitor so it works best for you.

•    Position your monitor directly in front of you and above your keyboard.
•    Center the top of the monitor approximately 2-3” above your eye level when seated. (If you wear bifocals, take care to lower the monitor to a comfortable reading level.)
•    Be sure to sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.
•    Take care to reduce glare by carefully positioning the screen.
•    Place the screen at right angles to windows
•    Remember to adjust the curtains or blinds as needed
•    Place the vertical screen angle and screen controls in such a way so that the glare from overhead lights is minimized
•    Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
•    Use a headset or speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.

Step four: Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Even with a close to perfect work environment it is still crucial to move around during the day. Lengthy postures that keep the body still for long periods of time are harmful, inhibiting blood circulation, taking a toll on the body. Here are some suggestions on how to keep the body moving during the long work day:

•    Every twenty minutes or so be sure to take a 1-2 minute stretch break. After an hour of work, take another break, changing your task for at least 5-10 minutes. It is helpful to move away from your computer desk during lunch.
•    You can get relief from eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes from time to time. Look away from the monitor and focus on something else further away.
•    Give your eyes a break. Cover them with your palms for about 10-15 seconds every so often.
•    Always be aware of your posture while working, and keep it correct. And try to keep moving.