Court reporters, attorneys, legal assistants, paralegals, these are all professions that involve a considerable amount of time sitting behind a keyboard. As court reporters, we know that, over time, repetitive motion injuries can occur that can be painful and physically limiting. We’ve done some investigation into how to create an ergonomic work environment and wanted to share what we’ve learned. With this information, you may be able to improve the ergonomic function of the work stations in your legal office and prevent repetitive stress injuries.
The angle at which we tilt our head to look at our monitor can sometimes cause neck and upper back pain. Some monitors allow for adjustments to the tilt of the screen as well as offer swivel features that allow us to position the screen so that we are looking directly in front of us, with the screen at eye level. This is the position to strive for when placing your monitor.
CNET.com has reviewed several monitors and evaluated their level of ergonomic benefit.
CNET monitor reviews: http://www.cnet.com/news/best-ergonomic-monitors/
When choosing a keyboard, it is important to take into consider the placement of your hands on the keyboard and the position you hold your arms, wrists and hands during those long hours of computer work. Here is a list of considerations when choosing your keyboard and hand placement.
1. Your arms should be perpendicular to the front of the keyboard.
2. Your wrists should not be horizontally bent as your hands sit on the home row of keys.
3. Your keyboard should be at a height where your forearms are level while typing.
4. Your wrists and hand should be in a straight line vertically.
5. Your mouse should be as near to the keyboard as possible.
For more information on keyboard placement, see
If you spend several hours daily sitting at your desk, the chair you sit in is one of the most important features when considering workstation ergonomics. It is worth investing in a good chair that is fully adjustable so that you can fit the chair to your body size and shape. When choosing a chair, look for the following features:
- Comfortable seat cushion
- Adjustable arm rests
- Adjustable seat height
- Adjustable back rest height and angle
- Lumbar support
- Ability to swivel and roll
For further information on choosing the right chair, check out this guide from the United States Department of Labor.
We often think of desks as something that is stationary to which we adjust our bodies as we sit, but when considering ergonomic requirements, you should consider choosing a desk that can be customized to fit your body instead of the other way around. Some desks have adjustable height. Some even adjust into a standing desk. Take the following items into consideration when choosing a desk:
- Working surfaces
- Quality and construction
To find out more information, read “How to Choose or Make the Perfect Desk for You.”
Because we spend so much of our working day sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen, it is worth taking some time to consider how our work station is performing for us. Look at your own work station to see if there are improvements that could be made that will allow you to stay healthy and pain free for many years to come.