Ergonomics & OHS Responsibilities

Ergonomic Adjustment of your Workstation

Sources: [http://www.technet.unsw.edu.au/tohss/swp.htm]

Adjust your chair: Good seating should support the operator in a stable position while working so that the muscles of the body remain relaxed. The chair should be set so that the user's thighs are parallel to the floor, with the feet resting on the floor or on a footrest. Ensure the chair is pulled in close to the worksurface ensure the back rest supports your lower back - the backrest of the chair should be adjusted to fit into the lower back. Ensure your feet rest on the floor or on a footrest (where available): hips, knees and elbows should all be roughly 90degrees. The chair should have wheels or castors suitable for the floor surface. The chair should have the ability to swivel while stationary. The upholstery of the chair should be made of a breathable fabric.

Keyboard and mouse: keep both close to the natural resting position of your hands. Do not stretch hand or arm excessively to reach to the mouse. Vary the inputting task to include some keyboard and some mouse use. The keyboard must be detached and moveable so that it can be positioned on the desk, in a place to suit the user. The keyboard should be thin enough so that the user's arms can remain parallel to the desk when operating the keyboard. The top surface of the bottom row of the keyboard should be no higher than 6.5cm above the work surface. While working, the wrist should be relaxed and not bent. If the keyboard is used primarily for text entry, the keyboard should be in front of the operator. If the keyboard is used primarily for data entry, the keyboard should be directly in front of the keying hand.

Mouse specific. Positioning of the mouse is vital. If you choose to use the mouse only and not any of the function keys, then you should move the keyboard out of the way. The mouse pad should be placed directly in front of the arm using it. To find the correct position of the mouse let your arms drop loosely by your side. Bend you elbow so that there is a 90 degree or greater angle at the elbow. (Your upper arm should still be hanging loosely by your side). The desk should be at such a height that when you then use the mouse or keyboard this angle at the elbow does not become less than 90 degrees. If it does you need to lower the desk or raise your chair until the correct angle is achieved. The mouse pad should then be located directly under where your hand as it lands in front of you. Do not allow your arm to reach excessively out to the side. If you are using the mouse and the keyboard, make sure the mouse is located as close to the keyboard as is possible. 
It should be noted that there are function key alternatives for most of the processes involved in the programme. It is recommended that these are used as much as possible to lessen the focus on the use of the mouse.  It is strongly recommended that you make yourself aufait with these alternatives. 
To further assist in spreading the load on your body it is advisable to learn to use the mouse in both hands. You should get into the practice of swapping the mouse between both your hands on a few occasions throughout the day.

Lighting and other environmental aspects need attention for comfort and efficient use of a computer workstation.

Visual Display Unit(VDU)/Screen: The top of the screen should be at eye level when correctly seated. The VDU screen should be approximately one arm's length/ distance from the operator. Images on the screen should be sharp, easy to read and should not flicker.

Task rotation, rest breaks, and exercise: 
Try to intersperse other tasks with computer work to vary the postural loading on the body particularly the neck, shoulders and arms. 
Document holders may also make the entering of data from documents more comfortable and efficient. 
Maintain your general fitness. Keep yourself strong, flexible and manage the stresses of work and study with relaxation or other stress management approaches.

UNSW OHS Responsibility and Accountability for Students

1.8 Students 
Each student is responsible for: 
1.8.1 Complying with all legislation and all UNSW OHS policies, 
procedures and instructions. 
1.8.2 Taking action to avoid, eliminate or minimize hazards. 
1.8.3 Making proper use of all safety devices and personal protective 
equipment. 
1.8.4 Not willfully placing at risk the health and safety of any person at the workplace by their acts or omissions. 
1.8.5 Seeking information or advice regarding hazards and procedures 
where necessary before carrying out new or unfamiliar work. 
1.8.6 Being familiar with emergency and evacuation procedures and the location of first aid kits, personnel and emergency equipment, and if appropriately trained, using the emergency equipment.