10 Steps to an Ergonomic Workstation - Slide 11

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All ergonomists agree that it's a good idea to take frequent, brief rest breaks.

Eye breaks - Every 15 minutes, you should briefly look away from the computer screen at something in the distance, preferably more than 20 feet away. This lets the muscles inside the eye relax. Also, blink your eyes rapidly for a few seconds. This refreshes the tear film and clears dust from the eye surface.

Micro-breaks - Most typing is done in bursts rather than continuously. Between these bursts of activity you should rest your hands in a relaxed, flat, straight posture. During a micro-break (< 2 minutes) you can briefly stretch, stand up, move around, or do a different work task, e.g., make a phone call). A micro-break isn't necessarily a break from work, but it's a break from the use of a particular set of muscles that's doing most of the work (e.g,. the finger flexors if you're doing a lot of typing).

Rest breaks - Every 30 to 60 minutes, you should take a brief rest break. During this break, stand up, move around and do something else. Go and get a drink of water, soda, tea, coffee or whatever. This allows you to rest and exercise different muscles and you'll feel less tired.

Exercise breaks - There are many stretching and gentle exercises that you can do to help relieve muscle fatigue. You should do these every 1-2 hours.

Creating a good ergonomic working arrangement is vital to protecting your health and improving your quality of life at work. To aid users in this effort, the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group has outlined the following 10 steps that you can take to improve the ergonomics of your workstation. Additional resources are also available at the CUErgo Web site.

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