|Prevent MSD Quick Start Guideline: General Quick Start Guideline: Office Basic Guideline Comprehensive Guideline|
Back pain, sore wrists and necks, and other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) are a major cause of workers’ disability and costs to workers, businesses, and society. Eliminating and reducing MSD hazards at the office is part of creating a safe workplace.
Small changes in the office can make a big difference in preventing the development of MSD. The goal of “Office Ergonomics” is to improve health and effectiveness during office work.
This Guide contains quick workplace fixes to help keep workers free of MSD while performing office work. It provides basic information and encourages businesses to get started on preventing MSD during office work and helps workers configure their workstations. The Office Quick Start Guideline is comprised of fact sheets and posters that can be downloaded and distributed freely. They are accessible through the images below or the links under “Downloadable Resources."
Note that there is no single "correct" working position that fits everyone's body and work tasks, and that allows comfort for extended periods of time. The Guideline documents aim to provide help with achieving postures and workstation setups that position workers to minimize the occurrence of MSD. Remember, movement while sitting or standing as well as whole body activity (i.e. walking) are important components of office work and reducing MSD..
Use the folder to help you get started. It provides information on how to use the posters and steps for taking a systematic approach to MSD prevention.
Use the posters as guides during walkthroughs and inspections. On the back of the poster, write observations and ideas about possible fixes for hazards.
Use the posters as a script to help workers, supervisors and others during training and safety talks. Use the discussion to brainstorm possible fixes.
Use the posters in the lunchroom or on the Health & Safety board to alert workers to potential MSD hazards in their work and their relationship to pain and discomfort.
Keep looking for improvements!
Want to go a step further in your offce MSD prevention activiites? These additional resources can help.
Ergonomics design guidelines for a computer workstation. Provides specific recommendations and dimensions for office furniture (chair and desk) including all relevant features, seated postures, peripheral equipment, reach distances, neck angles, environmental conditions, and some minor materials handling guidelines.
A survey designed to evaluate tablet use among medical professionals. Consists of 29 yes/no questions about use, portability, office use, and hardware.
Picture-based checklist that quantifies exposure to office risk factors. Scores several different equipment aspects to give individual scores for chair and peripherals/monitor and a grand score. Action demand is based on grand score.
The checklist is a detailed screening method for workers performing in-car computing such as police officers in cruisers. It also provides the user with simple recommendations on ways to improve the work environment.
A fact sheet from Ontario Public Safety Health & Safety Association. Describe to how to use sit-stand workstations effectively to control for prolonged static postures during office work. (3 pages pdf)
Video from the Centre for Ergonomics, University of Michigan, USA. Shows the assessment of a computer workstation including dimension and views needed. Hazards are identified during the video and it concludes with a list of recommended controls. (video duration 4:49)
Set of 15 fact sheets from Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Provides best practices and considerations for equipment of the modern office, including computer glasses, monitor and display colour, mouse, chair, sit-stand desk, wrist rests and more.
An evidence-based and standard-compliant online training program from the Institute for Work and Health on the proper way to set up and work at office workstations in order to prevent MSD and other injuries.