Workstation Organization and Task Design
The way your workstation is organized will affect your body position, posture and overall efficiency. How the task is designed may also affect risk factors associated with musculoskeletal injuries. Task design, or work scheduling, that allows for adequate rest breaks and the opportunity to stretch and change body position may help to reduce the risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal fatigue and injury due to repetitive and static muscle loading.
The following recommendations are made to improve the overall organization of your workstation:
- Place frequently used items such as telephones and calculators within easy reach. This will help to minimize long reaches, awkward stretches, and the need to frequently twist or turn your spine to reach the required item.
- Keep heavy reference materials such as large binders and manuals near waist level so that you can more easily manage the weight.
- There should be sufficient leg room underneath your desk and/or keyboard tray so that you can move freely; avoid storing boxes or other materials underneath your desk that could interfere with your body position.
The following are recommendations related to work scheduling and task design:
- Pace work activities over the entire shift, whenever possible.
- Take regular breaks (e.g. 5 minutes every hour) away from the computer, when computer work is prolonged or intensive; a break does not mean you cannot do any work, but could mean switching to a different task that allows you to change position, move your muscles or use different muscle groups.
- Try taking micro-pauses (5 to 10 seconds every 5 to 10 minutes) by looking away from the computer monitor to a distant object so that your eyes have a chance to relax and change focal distance; this will help to avoid eye fatigue.