A Checklist for Student's Posture at the Computer.

-compiled by Carole Shaw, Occupational Therapist.

The Checklist below covers a number of ergonomic issues that may be helpful in identifying risk factors for students in classroom and computer lab environments.   Possible solutions to each problem are also listed.

Things to look for: Possible solutions:
Elbows splayed out (shoulder abduction) Lower worksurface
Lower chair armrests
Bring chair armrests in closer
Awareness and habit training
Raised or tensed shoulders Habit or tension training
Lower worksurface or keyboard
Lower chair armrests
Raise chair, if foot contact with
     the floor can be maintained
Twisting the head to the side Bring viewed item closer to
     mid line of view
Wrists bent to the sides when using side keys Habit training
Keyboard with more accessible
     keys or Microsoft's split keyboard design
Wrists bent back (extended) or forward (flexed) for prolonged periods Habit training
Wrist rest
Lower, raise, or change slope
     of the keyboard
Wrists or palms resting for long periods on hard or sharp keyboard or worksurfaces Habit training
Wrist rest
Padded or rounded surfaces, corners
Rapid, sustained, or prolonged keying Greater work variety
Aggressive break schedule
Prolonged mouse use Greater work variety
Aggressive break schedule
Alternate hands
Alternative pointer devices
Arm support, including small table
Mouse close to body
     (extended keyboard tray)
Learn keystroke subsitutes for
Prolonged sitting, especially in only one posture Greater work variety
Aggressive break schedule
Chair that supports posture change,
     through movement, size,
     or easy adjustability
Habit training
Check chair fit
Monitor in-out mechanism
Sit-stand worksurface
Lumbar back area not supported Lumbar cushion
Backrest height and tilt
Check chair fit, especially
     backrest/lumbar height
Feet dangling, not well supported, or a posture which seems to put pressure on the backs of the thighs Lower chair
Lower worksurface
Habit training
Foot rest (last resort)
Chair backrest not used for long periods Check chair fit, especially seat pan
     depth and height
Check leg room
Check monitor distance
Habit training
Twisted torso Rearrange work
Provide more knee space
U-shaped worksurface layout
Swivel chair
Frequent or prolonged leaning or reaching Rearrange work
Mouse pad wrist or forearm rest
Bring mouse and keyboard
     closer to body
Working with one or both arms "reaching" toward a mouse or keyboard Bring keyboard closer to body
Mouse pad wrist or forearm rest
Bring mouse closer to keyboard
Light sources that are in the line of sight Cover or shield light sources
Rearrange work arena
Lower other viewed objects
     to lower field of view
Reflected glare on the screen Shield light sources
Shade screen
Glare screen
Move monitor so light enter from
    side angle, not back
Lower light levels
Move light sources
Too much contrast between screen and surroundings or document; user feels relief when bright areas are shielded Lower ambient light levels
Turn off or dim task lights
Change screen polarity to
     black on white
Monitor closer than approximately 40 cm Push monitor back
Habit training for reclining
Bring keyboard forward, possibly
     with a slide out keyboard tray
Different viewed objects (screen, documents) at different distances from the eyes Use document stand or
     otherwise equalize distances
     to within about 10 cm
Screen or documents not oriented perpendicular to the line of sight Change monitor, document stand
Prolonged near focusing throughout the day with few far-focusing opportunities Habit training
Rearrange space to provide view
Monitor image dim, fuzzy, flickery, small, or otherwise difficult to read Upgrade monitor
Use software to enlarge image
Forward position of the head (peering) or squinting Check for monitor image quality
     problems or monitor distance
Suggest the student gets their
     eyes checked.
Eyestrain complaints Check all aspects of visual
Suggest consultation with vision
Neck extended backwards, head tilted back, even slightly Remove CPU from under monitor
Remove tilt-swivel base from
     monitor (leave ventilation space)
Neck flexed (downward) Raise document or monitor to a
     comfortable height
Adjust posture
Habit retraining

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