Does improving a workstation's ergonomics have to be expensive?
Your budget to improve a workstation may or may not be expensive compared to your definition of expensive. However, there are some simple changes that can be made without incurring significant costs in many cases. For example, simply moving objects on your desk that you use most frequently to make them easily reachable without putting any strain on your back, shoulders, and arms is an improvement. Another example would be to tilt your monitor to avoid glare on the screen that will prevent strain on your eyes while trying to read it. Another benefit of adjusting will improve less strain on the neck. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level so that you look down just slightly to view the center of the screen. Place the monitor within arm’s length distance (for the user) for best monitor placement (adjustments to that distance may be required depending on the user's eye health and any ocular disabilities).
To increase your desktop height, consider adding do it yourself (DIY) methods such as firm boxes, pallets, or leg extenders, that provide stability and safety. Remember that some DIY options may not meet OSHA requirements. A tip to remember for knowing proper desk height is that when you're seated at the desk, your arms should be able to rest comfortable while keeping the elbows at a 90 degree angle.
For workstations that need purchased improvement items such as an ergonomically correct chair, or an adjustable computer screen monitor, comparing prices from several vendors is the simplest way to save money. Be sure to compare quality of items and just not cost so that you do not wind up with an inferior product that will have to be replaced quickly. Another option is to look for equipment auctions from companies similar to yours.
Written by Michael Aust
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- Institute of Medicine
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