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As of March 6, 2001 the OSHA ergonomic standard was overturned by the United States Congress under the Congress Review Act.
OSHA's VDT screening device for VDT workstation checklist (Appendix D-2)
please respond by answering Yes or No to each of the following inquiries to determine if you are at risk of developing a MSD (muscular skeletal difficulty
VDT Working conditions
The workstation is designed or arranged for doing VDT tasks so it allows the employee's...
A. Head and neck to be about upright ( not bent down/back)
B. Head, neck and trunk to face forward (not twisted)
C. Trunk to be about perpendicular to floor( not leaning, forward, backward)
D. Shoulders and upper arms to be about perpendicular to floor
( not stretched forward) and relaxed ( not elevated)
E. Upper arms and elbows to be close to body (not extended outward)
F. Forearms, wrists, and hands to be straight and parallel to floor
(not pointing up/down)
G. Wrists and hands to be straight (not bent up/down or sideways toward
H. Thighs to be about parallel to floor and lower legs to be about
perpendicular to floor
I. Feet to rest flat on floor or be supported by a stable footrest
J. VDT tasks to be organized in a way that allows employee to vary VDT
tasks with other work activities, or to take micro-breaks or recovery pauses
while at VDT workstation
Seating the chair->
1. Backrest provides support for employee's lower back (lumbar area)
2. Seat width and depth accommodate specific employee
3. Seat front does not press against the back of employee's knees/ lower legs
4. Seating has cushioning and is rounded/has "waterfall" front
5. Armrests support both forearms while employee performs VDT tasks and
do not interfere with movement
Keyboard / input device
6. Keyboard/input device platform(s) is stable and large enough to hold
keyboard and input device
7. Input device is located right next to keyboard so it can be operated
8. Input device is easy to activate and shape/size fits hand of specific person
9. Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edge
Monitor the monitor is designed or arranged for VDT tasks so that....
10. 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 bifocal/trifocals see 11)
11. Employee with bifocals/trifocals is able to read screen without bending
head or neck or backward
12. Monitor distance allows employee to read screen without leaning head
head,neck,or trunk forward/backward
13. Monitor position is directly in front of employee so employee does not
have to twist head or neck
14. No glare is present on the screen which might cause employee to
assume an awkward posture to read screen
Work Area the work area is designed or arranged for doing VDT tasks so that...
15. Thighs have clearance space between chair and VDT table/keyboard
16. Legs and feet have clearance space under VDT table so employee is able to
get close enough to keyboard/input device
17. Document holder, if provided, is stable and large enough to hold documents
that are used
18. Document holder, if provided, is placed at about the same height and
distance as monitor screen so there is little head movement when employee
looks from document to screen
19. Wrist rest, if provided, is padded and free of sharp and square edges
20. Wrist rest, if provided, allows employee to keep forearms, wrists, and
hands straight and parallel to ground when using keyboard/input device
21. Telephone can be used with head upright (not bent) and shoulders
relaxed (not elevated) if employee does VDT tasks at the same time.
22. Workstation and equipment have sufficient adjustability so that the
employee is able to be in a safe working posture and to make occasional
changes in posture while performing VDT tasks
23. VDT workstation,equipment and accessories are maintained in
serviceable condition and function properly
Passing Score: YES answer on all of first 10 questions ( A- J) and no more than two NO answers on remainder of checklist
Road Warriors: 5 most common work at home ergonomic mistakes
In 1984 who would've guessed the impact of computers on the office workplace in the 21st century. Today 90% of U.S. businesses use computers and 40% of those business's employees rely on a computer 4 hours or more each day to accomplish their job responsibilities. Computer technology has made it possible for you, I ,and 19% of the U.S. work force to work at home. The challenge facing employees working at home with computers is working safely.
In my dad's day working at home meant invading the kitchen table. From end to end paper stack after stack covered every inch of our family eating space. Since my dad in his youth did his homework at the kitchen table: I'm sure it was natural fro him to use this same space as an adult. Even when my dad later on had a "den", his fixtures and accessories were primitive compared to the resources available today. Being close to family - saving 720 hours or more of yearly commuting back 'n forth to work - not incurring the expense of vehicle operation are just a sampling of benefits for working at home today. The disadvantage: lack of proper "office " equipment.
Applying ergonomics in your home work space is the difference between working healthy, productively, safely or suffering a repetitive stress injury. Whether you work with a computer in a cubicle or at home; the ergonomic principles are the same. Unfortunately I see time and time again the same ergonomic mistakes by businesses and employees. So through sharing my experience with the home work environment I hope you will not be a injury victim
I am sure quantity purchases save money but one chair doesn't fit all. Before finalizing that seating purchase; survey your employees. Most ergonomic seating will satisfy the needs of what is called the 95th percentile. Men and women in a range of average heights and weights. Individuals who are shorter ( maybe only 5'1"), taller, or heavier (weighs in excess of 300lbs) than the "average" will be more susceptible to back, neck, and shoulder difficulties in the future. And don't forget workers who have existing physical difficulties: car accident related injuries, disabilities, etc.. These individuals may require seating on a case by case situation.
Working with a rigid, nonadjustable, or "executive" type chair can only lead to physical complaints. The forces and pressures challenging your body's health from using a computer demand an appropriate ergonomic chair. For more information on seating please read my articles Bells & Whistles and Chairs in the computer workplace which you can see on our archives page
Is a decorative table lamp your main source of computer workplace lighting? Consider a floor lamp bouncing off a white ceiling and supplemental task lighting. Proper illumination of your documents and work area increases your visual comfort. Not to mention you work more productively. P.S. watch for glare from the window and overhead ceiling light
This is one of the most common mistakes I see today. Computer users are forced to work at different heights / levels. This constant arm extension to operate a pointing device tends to create for many workers not only hand/arm stiffness and soreness, but neck and shoulder difficulties. The minimal cost for the mouse platform will pay for itself if just one RSI is prevented.
4 hours and more of daily computer activity is a pivotal point for your body. At the 4 hour level risks of incurring a repetitive stress injury may zoom as high as 90%. The kitchen table, favorite recliner, bed, or desktop are ergonomic danger zones. Working with a computer without the benefit of an articulating keyboard is like challenging the school yard bully: " come on - try to hit me"
Do you use a phone in your job? What a silly question; of course you do. But how do you use it? Phone cradling is like walking. Everywhere you look in your office; people are doing it. But if you spend more than 2 hours each day on a phone you should consider a phone head set. If you are working on a computer, on your desk, especially if your driving, a head set frees up your hands. But also important it allows your body to remain in a neutral position. Cradling a phone between your head and shoulders leads to the disruption of proper blood flow and nerve transmission. A headset is vital in protecting the neck, shoulders, and back while you work at home with a computer.
In Almost every analysis I see employees responding yes to back, shoulder, and neck problems on our Risk Assessment software. When visiting individual employee's work space I will often observe either no document holder is present or it's buried under a pile of papers and folders. When an employee doesn't use a document holder; that employee is forced to bend over, lean forward to view their paperwork. In doing so; when the head (which weighs between 8 - 10 lbs) is moved forward just one inch - the weight / force of the head is doubled. Move the head forward another inch, the weight / forces acting upon the neck, shoulders, and back double again. All that extra weight and force adds up placing unnecessary stress on an individuals neck, shoulders, and back.
Ergonomic intervention doesn't translate into huge expenditures. One of the simplest, inexpensive, and overlooked accessories is the document holder. Without a document holder your are doubling; if not tripling, the force on your neck, shoulders, and back. Stiffness and soreness associated with early stages of RSI doesn't have to be an every "end of day" occurrence.
As businesses take advantage of both computer and Internet technology; working at home will continue to expand. OSHA realizing this in February issued a directive ( CPL2-0125) to address working safely at home. The directive states:
"... Employers are responsible in home work sites for hazards caused by materials, equipment, or work processes which the employer provides or requires to be used in an employees home..."
The ergonomic solutions for the home work environment are available today. Advancements in everything from seating to even document holders make it possible to be healthy, productive and safe in the the home office. To avoid the 5 most common ergonomic mistakes take advantage of our ergonomic guide and recommendations. For we at VDT Solution believe using a computer doesn't have to hurt you. For assistance with your specific questions and products we recommend to keep you healthy, productive; please\ direct your inquiries to us at