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What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is about maximizing workstation comfort and minimizing health risks.  Our goal is to provide training and education to NKU employees on ergonomic principles and to implement practical, cost effective solutions to identified issues.

Image of proper Ergonomic seated position

This image provides an example of proper ergonomic seated position. Even if you don't have the equipment pictured, you should strive to create the same body position.

  • Feet should comfortably reach the floor/foot stool/surface with knees bent at approximately 90 degrees. 
  • Hips and knees should be aligned. Knees should not be above or below hips.
  • Hips and back should be make contact with the back of the chair and feel supported. If the chair does not provide built-in support, try rolling up a towel or using a firm pillow - place behind your back for additional support.
  • If possible, recline the back of your chair slightly so you can transfer your weight into the back of the chair. 
  • Try to keep your hands at or slightly below your elbows and wrists neutral. The palms of your hands should be resting on the typing surface or palm rest, not your wrists (carpal tunnel area).
  • Shoulders should be relaxed and down away from your ears.
  • Neck position should remain as neutral s possible. Adjust your monitor(s) at or slightly below eye level. Your head should not move up or down to read text - your eyes should be able to cover the area you are reading without tilting your head in either direction.
  • Center the screen(s) you are reading to minimize left and right rotation of the head. 

Click HERE for a printable pdf with a full description of each labeled area.

**Prolonged sitting is not recommended and can have negative effects on your health. Try implementing the 60:3 rule into your work day. Get up and move around for 3-5 minutes at the end of every hour to promote circulation, "wake up" your metabolic processes and improve alertness and focus.

Image of proper ergonomic standing position at desk.

This image provides an example of proper ergonomic standing position. Even if you don't have the equipment pictured, you should strive to create the same body position.
  • Shoulder, elbow, wrist and neck position should be the same as when seated. 
  • Make sure not to lock knees while standing.
  • Feet should be comfortably spaced about shoulder width apart for a stable base of support.
  • Shift your weight periodically while standing.
  • When your feet, knees or back become uncomfortable or are in pain, it is time to sit down. 
  • Research suggests standing for 15 minutes out of every hour. Listen to your body. Stand as long as you are comfortable and not experiencing any pain. This may be more or less than the recommended 15 minutes. Do not try to stand all day as it can have a negative impact on joints. 

Click HERE for a printable pdf with a description of each area. 

Work Station Assessments

A Workstation Assessment is an opportunity for you to work with a trained member of University Wellness to evaluate the comfort and safety of your workstation.  Based on this evaluation, we will provide you with recommendations for improving your workspace:

There are many ways to improve your workstation that require no financial investment. Simply rearranging and/or reorganizing existing equipment can provide a more comfortable and safe work environment.

You may receive recommendations on purchasing new, ergonomically correct office equipment. Your department's budget may allow for such an investment or you may invest in the equipment yourself. However, scheduling a Workstation Assessment in no way obligates you or your department to purchase any equipment. 

Ergonomic Office Items

University Wellness partners with approved vendors for ergonomic items such as chairs, keyboard trays, sit-to-stand desks, and monitor arms. 

Contact Kim Baker for more information on these items and the ordering process. 

Departmental/Group Workstation Assessments 

If there are multiple people in your department that would like to be assessed, you can schedule departmental workstation assessments. Please allow at least 2 weeks lead time to schedule groups of 4 or more. 

It is recommended that the department schedule workstation assessments before deciding on any purchases. Delivery of bulk purchases vary and can take 4-6 weeks, so plan accordingly with any budgetary deadlines.