Visual Ergonomics in the Workplace

Looking after the eyesight of a team of employees involves more than simply ensuring the computer monitor is a certain distance away from them. Lighting, chair height, desk positioning and even monitor contrast can all make a significant difference to a person’s level of eye strain and ultimately a company’s productivity.

Visual ergonomics in the workplace should be the very first thing put in place by a human resources department. Firstly, all chairs should be of adjustable height, considering each and every employee is a different height and shape. The employee should have the soles of their feet flat on he floor, with their thighs parallel to the floor as well. You should also strongly encourage them to sit with their backs straight.

It’s important for a person to be able to adjust their focus throughout the day and while it might seem like you’d get distracted by people walking behind your computer monitor, it’s actually very good for your eyes. Try to position desks so they face out into a room rather than facing a wall and encourage employees to take 5 minutes out of every hour to look around the office and beyond their desk.

In terms of lighting for visual ergonomics in the workplace you should have strong light bulbs, suspended from the ceiling but preferably with a light shade or protective glass so they’re not too bright. You should never have lamps or lights pointing at an employee, nor should they be facing a window where sun shines onto them. Place employees side on to windows, but make sure they do not get glare on their screens (today new computers have anti glare screens as standard). The screen should be placed at least 25 inches away from the employee’s eyes and also just below their eye level.

Employees should never be working mainly on a platform that shows light font on a dark background as this is detrimental to eyesight. Black or dark blue writing on a white or pale background is best, and the screen brightness should not be too dark or light. Look at the nearest window; if the screen is brighter or darker than the window at midday then it should be adjusted so it is the same.

Once you have implemented visual ergonomics in the workplace such as these you are ready to begin work with your employees. It may be worth holding a seminar on ergonomics in the workplace so that they can adjust seats, monitor heights and screen brightness to suit their individual needs. It’s important to keep reminding employees that they still need to carry out eye strain exercises and also get their eyes tested by an optometrist every six ti eight months. Also, as you walk around the office try to look at how your employees are sitting and whether their chairs need adjusting. Fixing this for them will not only make them more comfortable but will reassure them that they are being very well looked after in their current job.

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