DSE and Office Ergonomics Research Summary

The white paper below was written in 2005 by Zaheer Osman but still contains a lot of relevant information about ergonomics in the office, Display Screen equipment and seating. The document summarises the following:

1) Relevant guidance, standards and legislation

2) Statistics

3) Information on different seating concepts and their effectiveness

4) Other chairs on the market

5) The human body

6) The future of the workplace

DSE Office Ergonomics – Brief Summary of Research

Workstation Set-Up Quick Guide

Workstation and Chair Set-up checklist

Here is a simple workstation set up guide which can be used to ensure people are set up correctly.  We have compiled this through our many years of assessment of workstations.

Working posture: Sit ‘straight on’ to your workstation, head upright, shoulders relaxed, upper arms by your side, elbows at right angles just above desk height, forearms parallel to the floor, a 90 degree plus angle between your trunk and thighs (open angle) with thighs sloping

slightly downwards and knees slightly lower than pelvis, feet flat on the floor or a foot rest.

Item Information X
1 Seat Height ·      Elbows just above desk top with shoulders relaxed

·      90 degree plus angle between trunk and thigh

·      Feet flat on the floor, shorter users may require a footrest if desk is not adjustable

2 Seat Depth ·      Buttocks right at the back of the seat

·      Gap of three fingers from the edge of the seat to the back of the knees

3 Backrest Height ·      Small of the back adequately supported by lumbar support in the backrest
4 Armrests ·      With shoulders relaxed and elbows at right angles, armrests should touch underside of forearms

·      Rotate, slide or adjust height of armrests to ensure they don’t clash with the desk

5 Chair Tilt Tension ·      Adjust tension to suit your bodyweight, when feet are off the floor you should be able to ‘float’ in the chair
6 Chair Tilt Lock ·      Keep chair unlocked most of the time to encourage healthy movement

·      Lock chair in upright position for short periods when required

7 Height Adjustable Desk ·      Stand upright, shoulder relaxed and elbows at right angles

·      Set the desk height so that it just touches the underside of your forearms when elbow are at right angles

·      Sit for 40 minutes and stand for 20 minutes every hour, this will give you the maximum benefit through postural change

8 Keyboard ·      Wrists in neutral, horizontal position with elbows at right angles

·      Keyboard directly in front of you at a distance to allow you to maintain relaxed shoulders

·      Space in front of keyboard to rest your wrists on

9 Mouse ·      Mouse close to the side of the keyboard

·      When manoeuvring mouse keep wrist straight with the heel of your hand supported by the desk

·      Remove hand from mouse when not using it

·      Use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible

·      If using mouse intensively then move keyboard to the side and place mouse in line with shoulders at forearm length with elbows at right angles

10 Screen ·      Approx arm’s length away from you

·      Top of screen should be in horizontal line of sight

·      Screen should be directly in front of you unless you refer to other documents more often (copying from text, in case of touch typists)

·      Control glare and reflections at source by the use of blinds


11 Documents ·      Should be placed to the side of the screen or between the screen and keyboard by using a document holder
12 Equipment location ·      Most frequently used items should be placed close by

·      If right handed place mouse on your right and phone on your left and vice versa

·      If using the phone very often a headset should be utilised

13 Breaks ·      Take shorter frequent breaks rather than a single long one

·      Take advantage of natural breaks away from your desk (i.e. filing, printing, making drinks)

14 Healthy Movement ·      Introduce healthy movement when at your desk (i.e. moving feet and legs, stretching)


15 Vision ·      Rest eyes away from monitor by looking at distant objects

·      Ensure you are aware of eye test arrangements


16 Reporting problems ·      Report any discomfort to your line manager or occupational health department as soon as possible


Download the Workstation set-up guide here