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Computer users are a heady--as opposed to corporeal--lot. They invest an inordinate amount of money in computer systems, software, accessories, customized keyboards, and even mouse pads, but they skimp when it comes to a most critical element in a high-functioning office: the chair. It's not unusual to see, in front of a $4,000 computer system sporting all the latest and fastest components, a person perched perilously on a stool. And an ergonomically deficient work space means skyrocketing workers' compensation injuries.

Does your computer work space measure up to ergonomic standards?

* Computer monitor. The top of the screen should be at or just below the seated person's eye level. There shouldn't be any glare from lighting or windows.

* Keyboard. The keyboard should be at the seated person's elbow height. Wrists should be elevated by wrist or keyboard pads. Ergonomic keyboards follow the natural curve of the arms.

* Telephone. Clenching a handset between jaw and shoulder is a classic source of neck and shoulder pain. Headsets help prevent strain.

* Seating. Invest in a chair designed to encourage correct posture. Poor posture affects the back, arms, legs, and neck.

* Posture. It's important to keep moving--a software program like ErgoBreak (Vanity Software Publishing, 800-643-2881) encourages employees to take frequent breaks. A cartoon character leads exercises.

Last updated: Jan 1, 1998




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