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Heath & Safety for Computer Operator




Possible Controls

Chair selection

  • Chair is not the appropriate size
  • Poor back support
  • Front edge of seat insufficiently rounded and / or padded
  • User misjudges height of stool or slips or overbalances whilst getting on or off
  • Have an ergonomic assessment undertaken
  • Try chairs of different styles and dimensions until user feels secure, has adequate support and feels comfortable
  • When purchasing new chairs specify seat pans to have a well padded rounded ‘waterfall edge’
  • Alert all users of high chairs or stools of the need for particular care when getting on or off these

Chair / desk adjustment

  • Chair / desk height is incorrectly adjusted
  • User does not understand how to use the adjusting mechanisms correctly
  • Adjusting mechanism is not working
  • Chair has no tilt adjustment for the seat pan
  • Gas strut leaks and chair won’t maintain height setting
  • Chair height is correctly adjusted when the entire sole of the foot can rest on the floor, and the back of the knee is slightly clear of edge of seat
  • Adjust desk to allow operator to adopt appropriate posture (if desk is adjustable)
  • Have all staff trained how to adjust their chairs correctly obeying ergonomic principles
  • Arrange periodic inspection and repair or replace any chairs with faulty adjustment mechanisms
  • When purchasing new chairs specify seat pans to have an adjustable tilt angle
  • Arrange periodic check of all chairs / desks for required maintenance


  • Chair can tip over when user leans over too far
  • Chairs / stools with castors when used on non-carpeted floors may roll away when sitting
  • Check that chair is fitted with a 5 star base
  • Replace office chairs with less than a 5 star base
  • Ensure chairs or stools to be used on non-carpeted floors are fitted with glides not castors


  • Narrow clearance between armrest and bottom of desk
  • Armrests obstruct correct keyboarding position
  • Armrests prevent chair from sliding under desk
  • If appropriate adjust or remove armrests to prevent jamming injuries
  • When purchasing new chairs, specify adjustable armrests to ensure proper height is achievable
  • If appropriate remove armrests to allow user to adopt good posture by sitting closer to desk

Desk selection

  • Desk is too shallow to allow user sufficient room to conduct tasks
  • User is unable to access desk appropriately
  • Desk can not be adjusted appropriately
  • Review the tasks to be conducted at the workstation
  • Select a desk that allows the user enough room to store and use the required equipment for the tasks
  • Where appropriate supply additional workspace for specific tasks (e.g. mail sorting)
  • Consider providing adjustable desks

Foot rests

  • Feet are not able to rest comfortably on floor
  • Thighs are pressing too hard on edge of seat
  • Adjust chair and desk to avoid using a foot rest
  • Use a footrest which allows feet to be placed flat on its surface with thighs just clear of seat edge

Source:  Australian Government- ComCare, http://www.comcare.gov.au/virtual_workplaces/virtual_office/office/computers_and_personal_electronic_devices

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