Employers are encouraged to abide by the standards given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when setting up workstations for their employees. OSHA has rules and regs for almost any type of working environment – from desk to desert, simply as a way to safeguard the health and safety of employees from all walks of life.

For employers, OSHA standards act as a means for preserving the productivity of their workers. More importantly for employers, they  also assist in avoiding potential claims for compensation due to work-related injuries and diseases. The health and safety of workers also minimize their propensity for absenteeism.

There are several ways an employer can stick to these standards at an affordable costs. Below are 6 of the easiest to put in place quickly.

  1. Office furniture and equipment positioning. First off, note that furniture and office equipment should be at a particular level so as not to strain any muscle. Seats should be adjustable and ergonomic so that it can be raised or lowered depending on the height of the table. Office equipment, like the computer, should be placed straight ahead so that the user does not have to twist his or her body or neck.
  2. Maintain proper posture.  For this to be possible, seats should be cushioned.  When sitting, the head and neck should be in line with the torso and not be leaning forward.  If you are sitting at a chair with a backrest, it must be able to support your trunk. The thighs must be parallel to the floor, with the feet resting on it. If not, a footrest should be provided. The upper arms and elbows should be held close to the body and not in an awkward position.  When bending over, bend at the hips.  When carrying objects, heavier ones should be carried close to the floor rather than the head.
  3. Solutions for repetitive tasks. There is still much debate as to the relationship between repetitive tasks such as typing or hitting the adding machine and carpal tunnel syndrome. However, for the OSHA’s part, they are implementing rules and regulations regarding the trauma repetitive tasks may induce. They advocate for the placement of input devices as keyboards and mice in a large and stable surface. The mouse must be located near the keyboard so that the user does not have to reach for them.
  4. Monitor the monitor. When working at a video display terminal, the top of the monitor should not exceed or go above eye level so that the user does not lean have to lean back to read. Its distance should be far enough for the user to read the screen’s contents without leaning forward. Monitors must be positioned in a way that does not reflect glare from a glass table, walls or windows.
  5. Clearance.  In any workstation, make sure that ample clearance is maintained.  The legs should be able to move underneath the table, counter, or office computer desk. Space should also be maintained between the thighs and the table.
  6. Personal protective equipment. For those working with machines or using welding equipment, a machine guard should be in place; goggles and gloves must be used.  Blue collar workers, such as those who have to be suspended in cables or work in suspended platforms, must wear safety harnesses.  In construction sites, personal protective equipment such as a hard hat is a must.

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