Health and Safety

Advice based on the leaflet: Working with VDUs published by the Health and Safety Executive.

The following advice is based on the leaflet: Working with VDUs published by the Health and Safety Executive (ref: INDG36 (rev1) 8/00)

Getting comfortable

  • Adjust your chair and computer to find the most comfortable position for your work. As a general guide, your forearms should be approximately horizontal and your eyes at the same height as the top of the monitor.
  • Make sure you have enough space to take whatever documents or other equipment you need.
  • Try different arrangements of keyboard, screen, mouse and documents to find the best arrangement for you
  • Arrange your desk and monitor to avoid glare or bright reflections on the screen. This will be easiest if neither you nor the screen is facing windows or bright lights. Adjust curtains or blinds to prevent unwanted light.
  • Make sure there is space under your desk to move your legs freely.

Keying in

  • Adjust your keyboard to get a good keying position. A space in front of the keyboard is sometimes helpful for resting hands and wrists when not keying.
  • Try to keep your wrists straight when keying. Keep a soft touch on the keys and don't overstretch your fingers - good keyboard technique is important.

Using a Mouse

  • Position the mouse within easy reach so that it can be used with the wrist straight. Sit upright and close to the desk so that you do not have to work the mouse with your arm stretched. Move the keyboard out of the way if it is not being used.
  • Support your forearm on the desk and don't grip the mouse too tightly.
  • Rest your fingers lightly on the buttons and do not press them too hard.

Reading the Screen

  • Adjust the brightness and contrast controls on the screen to suit lighting conditions in the room.
  • Make sure the screen surface is clean.
  • In setting up software, choose options giving text which is large enough to read when you are sitting in a normal comfortable working position. Select colours that are easy on the eye (avoid red text on a blue background or vice versa).
  • Individual characters on the screen should be sharply focused and should not flicker or move. If they do, the equipment may need servicing or adjustment.

Posture and Breaks

  • Don't sit in the same position for long periods. Make sure you change your posture as often as is practicable. Some movement is desirable but avoid repeated stretching to reach things you need (if this happens a lot, re-arrange your work station).
  • Use natural breaks in your work to take a break from the screen. Frequent short breaks are better than fewer long ones.

Further information relating to ICT and health is available from Microsoft's Healthy Computing website.