Complete our workstation self-assessment form (via the button above) and download and discuss the details of this form with your manager.
We all spend a lot of time using various devices for work and pleasure, whether it is our desktop PC, laptop, tablet or even smartphone. The time we spend with these devices has increased dramatically over the last few years and can cause many issues if not used correctly.
“The number of people being unfit for work because of neck and back injuries has risen by 62,000 between Quarter 2 in 2019 and 2022. Long-term sickness among those aged 25 to 34 had jumped by 42%”– Office for National Statistics, 2022
Ergonomic Workstation Setup
The main concern for the workplace is your workstation and your posture when using a desktop or laptop computer. If you are not sat correctly when working then you will start to suffer; if you are not already suffering; pain in your shoulders, back, arms, hands, fingers, feet! If not one of these areas, then possibly a combination of all of them. This is known as musculoskeletal pain and can cause a Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder.
Every time you move your desk around you need to assess your ‘Workstation Ergonomics’. Check out our ergonomic workstation diagram shown here to see the correct way to sit at your desk. Read the checklist below and compare this to what you actually do!!
Ergonomic Workstation Checklist
- Arms – With shoulders relaxed, elbows should be kept close by your side. Elbows, forearm and wrist should be level with, or slightly higher, than the desktop level
- Monitor – Natural line of vision should be towards the top of the monitor screen. The screen should be at approximately arm’s length distance from the body
- Shoulders – Keep shoulders relaxed at all times
- Backrest – Ensure lumbar support of the chair is positioned to support the small of your back
- Seat Height – Adjust the height to allow for directed arm positioning
- Mouse – Keep mouse as close to body and keyboard as able. Try not to reach/stretch to use the mouse
- Knees / Thighs – Knees should be at 90 degrees. Ensure that weight through your thighs is distributed evenly
- Feet – Have feet flat on the floor. If required incorporate footrest to enable such support
Don’t forget to take into consideration if you share a desk with another colleague. The chair may need adjusting every time you use the desk.Jo Ferguson, Health & Safety Consultant
A workstation self-assessment checklist should be carried out annually or when there is a change in the layout of the desk. For an example form please view the Health & Safety Executive’s checklist here.
Working from Home
An employer should cover home workers in their Health & Safety Risk Assessment, along with advice and guidance on their home set-up. If someone’s home is deemed unsuitable for work (e.g: measures cannot be taken to protect them), then the employer should make alternative arrangements for the health of the employee.
If you are unable to make your home workstation ergonomic, then it might be worth returning to the office, even for a few days a week. Workplaces are often better equipped, and management have an obligation to provide staff with adequate desks, seating and office space. Hybrid-working also benefits mental health, as going to the workplace can help you form a routine and encourage interaction with colleagues.
“Around 454,000 people were affected by mental health disorders. A partial return to the office has led to improvement in health problems, an ONS statistician added”Sky News, November 2022
Ask your Health and Safety officer for further advice in your business
Alternatively, HGBS can provide an assessment service and/or training on the importance of correct posture and how to carry out effective workstation checklists.
If you would like to discuss this area further, please send a message via our ‘Contact Us’ page or call us on 01636 701386.
Read more: The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations came into force in 1992 and have been amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.