Environmental health and safety office

Workstation Ergonomic Checklist

This picture contains a checklist of areas to consider when setting up your workstation. Click on the numbers to learn more about each piece of office equipment and how to use it properly. If you would like an assessment done by a professional staff, please follow click here to complete the on-line form.

1. Phone

Neck should remain vertical; try not to cradle phone between head and shoulder.

Risk Factors: Talking on the phone while doing other tasks and holding the phone between the neck and shoulder.

How to Reduce Risks: Private office: use speaker phone, head set or phone rest. Open office: use head set or phone rest. All offices: hold phone with one hand.

2. Footrest

Use if feet do not touch the floor when seated.

Risk Factors: Thigh angle not parallel to floor.

How to Reduce Risks: Use footrest for support or lower the height of the keyboard to allow the feet to touch the floor.

3. Chair

•Should provide back support.

•Chair size appropriate for person.

•Arm rests absent or support arms.

•Chair should be adjusted to fit individual.

•Chair design appropriate for the task.

Risk Factors:

•Chair is too large and individual sits at end or on one side of the chair.

•Chair is too small.

•Chair does not support lower back.

•Chair shared by two people and does not have pneumatic height adjustment.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Get smaller chair, narrower seat, sliding seat pan, arms with vertical and horizontal adjustment, and use chair back that has an adjustable tilt.

•Get larger chair and arms with adjustable width; longer and wider seat pan and higher back; get chair with better construction.

•Adjust back height (the back rest will often fall to the bottom), get lumbar rest for short term solution, get chair with better back support.

•Purchase chair with pneumatic height adjustment or use two chairs set at different heights.

4. Pointing Device (mouse, turbo ball, glide point) Wrist should be straight and fingers relaxed.

Risk Factors:

•Mouse located on desk near monitor far from keyboard.

•Wiggling wrists while moving mouse.

•Mouse sticks, making it difficult to maneuver.

•High mouse use.

•Current mouse design does not work.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Change location to bring mouse at or slightly above keyboard height and same distance away from keyboard.

•Move mouse to left side of keyboard.

•Move from elbow and not from wrist.

•Clean mouse ball.

•Use control keys or macros for repetitive tasks and switch side to side.

•Try an alternative mouse; individual preferences vary widely.

5. Keyboard, Wrist Rest, Keyboard Drawer Keyboard:

•Keys do not stick.

•Keyboard at elbow height.

Risk Factors:

•Keys stick on keyboard.

•Keyboard too high.

How to Reduce Risks:
•Fix keyboard or purchase a new one.

•Several alternative keyboards available and individual preferences vary widely.

•Raise chair, install keyboard drawer, lower desk.

Wrist Rest:

The wrist rest should support the palm and allow the person to type with the wrist in a neutral position. Individuals who were taught to type or play piano may not need or want a wrist rest.

Risk Factors:

•Wrist rest is too low.
•Gel in wrist rest is distorted.

How to Reduce Risks:
•Use different wrist rest.

•Fix gel in wrist rest.

Keyboard Drawer: Risk Factors:

•Only holds keyboard.

•Fixed height.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Replace with wider platform to accommodate mouse./li>

•OK if comfortable.

•Adjustable height with optional tilt is best.

6. Document Holder

Used by persons who do heavy word processing. The choice of the type of document holder and location is dependant on the type of documents viewed and the length of time the documents are viewed.

Risk Factors:

•The documents are flat on the desk.

•Documents are frequently transferred and the document holder is beyond arms length.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Place documents on a document holder. The documents should be in a position that is easy to reach and does not cause the neck to be in a poor posture.

•Bring the document holder closer to the person; do not use a clip on document holder.

7. Monitor Watch head position when person looks at text on word processing program. Should be looking straight ahead, not at an angle or tipped back.

Risk Factors:

•Monitor sitting up on CPU, causing head to tilt back.

•Neck tilted back while reading text on monitor.

•Monitor won't tilt.

•Monitor too high when placed flat on desk.

•Monitor off to side or documents on table or off to side and person complains of neck discomfort.
How to Reduce Risks:

•If individual does not have bifocals or trifocals place monitor so that top of the screen is at eye level.

•Monitor too high - lower monitor or get gradual bifocals, flip focals or computer glasses.

•Move monitor side to side then push down or up.

•Remove tilt mechanism and prop front of monitor with 1 inch high support.

•If document is viewed more frequently than the monitor, place the document directly in front.

8. Glare Screen

Risk Factors:

•Fabric mesh glare screen - the letters of the text are distorted.

•Strong overhead glare on the screen.

•Strong light from glaring directly on the screen.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Use a glare screen that does not distort the viewing of the letters.

•Place a cover over the monitor to prevent light on the screen.

•Sometimes a glare screen will not work; reposition the monitor or shield the light source.


Risk Factors:

•High intensity light in area with computer use.

•Insufficient light on paper.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Reduce light.

•Add a task light to focus on the document but not the computer monitor.



At least 30 inches deep with the keyboard and monitor on the table. The keyboard near elbow height.

The table should be thin enough for the legs to fit under the table without touching the bottom of the table.

Risk Factors:

•Sharp edge on table and creases on the forearms.

•The pencil drawer will often make the desk too thick and need to be removed.

•Monitor and keyboard can not fit in front of each other on desk.

•Computer on typewriter return. The monitor is too close too view comfortably. Sometimes the monitor will be placed at an angle to the keyboard. How to Reduce Risks:

•Use palm rest or attach soft edge to end of table. Purchase table with round edge.

•Cover the sharp edges exposed under the desk when the drawer is removed.

•Use a table 30 inches deep if the monitor and keyboard is placed on the desk, 24 inches if a keyboard drawer is used.

•Desk is too low and too narrow for monitor and keyboard. Raise the height of the return to approximately 29 inches and install keyboard drawer or remove return and get new desk.

Corrective Eyewear
The person should be able to read the text on the screen while looking straight ahead.

With a trifocal, the middle lens should allow the screen to be in focus. The focal length should be 20 to 30 inches.
Discrete bifocal correction for reading glasses has a focal length of 15 inches. The top of the screen will need to be below eye level.
Gradual bifocal correction for reading glasses has a focal length that starts at 15 inches and gradually increases. The top of the screen will usually be below eye level.

If the person is a heavy computer user, separate computer glasses may be necessary. Objects greater than 3 feet away will probably be blurry.

Risk Factors:

•Head tilted back while viewing screen.
•Head leaning forward to view text.

•Eyes greater than 36 inches away from the screen.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Person probably has discrete bifocals. Improve the neck position by lowering the monitor height, switching to gradual bifocals, or using computer glasses.

•Bring the monitor closer. Suggest that the individual have vision checked.

•The individual may be farsighted and will need bifocals soon. They should be reevaluated when they have their new eyeglasses.

Writing Risk Factors:

•Heavy amounts of writing on a surface that is too low or too high.

•No space for writing and person uses lap.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Use surface that allows arms and shoulders to be in the proper position. Angle the writing surface to reduce shoulder strain.

•Acquire a table to write on.


Risk Factors:
•Heavy stapler use. How to Reduce Risks:

•Use ergonomic design stapler.

•Use electric stapler.

Job Variety/Exercise

Risk Factors:

•No variety at work with very sedentary tasks.
How to Reduce Risks:
•Redesign job tasks and increase exercise outside of work.

Home Office
Risk Factors:

•Home office is poorly designed.

•Heavy computer use at home along with heavy computer use at work.

How to Reduce Risks:

•Design home office using above guidelines.

•Lower the amount of computer use and increase stretching exercises.

Other Repetitive Activities

Risk Factors:

•Many repetitive activities at work and home.

•Reduce repetition or focus repetition on different muscle groups.


Environmental health and safety office

Training for all labratory staff