ASSE Provides Ergonomic Tips for the Office

Sept. 5, 2000
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) suggests conducting a workplace safety audit in an effort to reduce accidents and\r\ninjuries whether it be in a company office building or a home office.

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) suggests conducting a workplace safety audit in an effort to reduce accidents and injuries whether it be in a company office building or a home office.

"With the constant change in technology, new products and the rapid pace of the world marketplace, it is extremely important for employers and their bottom line to integrate safety into all components of a business plan and operations," said Samuel Gualardo, CSP, ASSE president. "This is especially true when addressing ways to make the office and workplace safer, in effect reducing injuries, risk and loss costs."

To increase safety in the workplace, ASSE recommends addressing the following:

  • A chair should have a five point star base for stability, an adjustable backrest that provides lumbar support and an adjustable seat pan. If armrests are provided, they should be padded, adjustable up and down, in and out and swivel. The edge of the seat pan should be at least 4 inches from the soft tissue area behind the knee.
  • The top of a computer display screen should be slightly below eye level (20 degrees).
  • A document holder that is the same height and distance from the user as the display screen should be provided when the primary task is data entry.
  • A keyboard should be detachable and adjustable to allow straight/parallel hand-forearm posture. This is often accomplished using a wrist rest. ASSE experts recommend that the height of the wrist rest should equal the home row key height and fingers on the home row of a keyboard should be approximately zero to 1.5 inches above the elbow rest height.
  • For lighting and glare, the characters on the computer screen should be brighter than the screen background. Bright light sources in the peripheral field of the computer screen should be avoided. The computer screen should be positioned to avoid glare.
  • For posture, the head should be tilted 15 degrees forward or less to maintain a vertical position. The elbows should be kept close to the body or supported. The lumbar curve of the back should be maintained.
  • Dry eye can occur because people tend to blink less when viewing monitors. Due to this, fatigue can also set in.

If the office is at home, ASSE recommends the following:

  • be wary of falls that could occur when reaching high shelves and storage, and tripping hazards;
  • floor surfaces should be in good condition;
  • avoid heated surfaces such as coffee makers, hot plates and portable heaters in the office as they could trigger a fire;
  • have a licensed electrician inspect the existing home electrical system and upgrade it if necessary to assure the current protection and load will meet electricity demands;
  • use a hand-held cart when moving heavy boxes; and
  • move desks closer to power outlets and phone jacks.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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