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The office workstation should let the worker sit and carry out their duties in comfort while allowing for voluntary changes in the working position.
There are three contact areas in the work space that affect the worker's posture: the seat, the work surface (commonly it is a desk top or keyboard) and the floor. To ensure the most comfortable posture possible, two of these factors have to be adjustable.
If you can afford to do nothing else, a fully adjustable chair is a "must". The other, and perhaps the most preferable option, would be a fully adjustable desk. However the price of such a desk may not make this option practical. Another effective (and cheaper) option is to use an adjustable chair and footrest to secure postural comfort.
A basic rule of ergonomics is that there is no such thing as an "average" person. However, providing a chair specifically designed for each individual is not practical. The only solution is to provide workers with fully adjustable chairs that can accommodate a maximum range of people (typically around 90 percent of the population; workers falling in the ranges of 5% of the shortest and the tallest will need custom-made chairs).
Choose a chair with:
You may also wish to check the OSH Answers document The Ergonomic Chair for more details on how to purchase a chair.
Armrests were traditionally not recommended because they can prevent the users from getting close enough to the desk. However, armrests that extend 25 cm (10 inches), or less, from the back of seat may be appropriate. People using chairs fitted with these shorter armrests can move their chairs closer to their workstations. The armrests gives them a place to rest their arms which, in turn, takes some of the load off their shoulders and neck.
Different office tasks require different equipment, accessories and layouts.
Nonetheless, the chair and its adjustment remain constant for the majority of setups in a typical office environment.
Once your chair is properly adjusted for your height, check if you can sit at the workstation comfortably with your legs underneath.
Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.