Working safely with your computer

Once your workstation is suitably adjusted for you, it is important to use safe working habits and techniques to prevent injuries developing.Follow these guidelines for healthy work practices.

Chair and posture

Sit with your bottom back on the chair rather than sitting on the front edge. Periodically check your posture to ensure you are not sitting with your chin poked out.

The longer you sit the poorer your posture is likely to be - be diligent in taking your breaks.


Sit close to the desk when working at the computer so that your arms are by your side with your elbows near your waist.

Keep your desk clear of clutter to avoid awkward working positions.


Poor typing skills can lead to neck and arm pain. Improve your skills with an online touch typing course if necessary. Don't pound the keys (Touch typing tutorial).  Log into Pulse and select Personal learning Plan/Other Desktop IT/Type IT - select lessons).

Use a free floating posture for keying - do not fix wrists to the desk.

Keep the keyboard flat for straighter wrists.

If you are reading your screen and not keying rest your hands in your lap or by your side rather than keeping them on the keyboard.


Your hand should be relaxed on the mouse in a neutral position. Do not grip the mouse tightly.

Don't leave your hand on the mouse if you are not using it.

Use keyboard short-cuts to reduce the amount of mousing you do.

Do not fix your wrist to the desk when moving the mouse. Rest your wrist on the desk when not moving the mouse

Learning to use either hand to mouse and periodically changing between hands is good practice.

Gel wrist supports

These supports can be useful to assist a straight wrist position but they also have the potential to aggravate injuries if used incorrectly. Ensure the gel support is not higher than the keyboard or mouse, and do not rest wrists on these while keying and mousing.


Check that you are working with your screen directly in front of you.

Document holder

Place any documents you need to view while working at screen on a document holder rather than on the desktop.


If you have frequent telephone use or need to use the computer while on the phone use a headset. Do not cradle the phone between your shoulder and your ear.


Take a posture and movement breaks for a few minutes every 30 minutes of seated computer work.

Your eyes need a visual break every 20 to 30 minutes where your focus is changed from your screen to a distance of at least 3m away.


Adjust blinds as necessary to keep even light levels around your screen.

Visual health

Have an optometry assessment every two years to prevent problems related to visual strain.

Safe storage

Stand to access heavier folders on shelves above your desk rather than reaching and lifting at shoulder height. Keep heaviest and most frequently used items on shelves around waist height (between shoulder and mid-thigh).


Page owner: Human Resources