Risk Control

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For an ergonomic assessment of your workstation, ask your Department Safety Liaison to request one via the Service Order System.

To reduce stress and prevent fatigue, it is important to take mini-breaks throughout the day. If possible, change tasks at least once per hour. Stretch your arms, neck and legs often if you do the same type of work for long periods of time.

For a quick pick-me-up, breathe deeply several times by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. In addition, always try to eat lunch somewhere other than your desk.


Stress-Relieving Exercises

Head and neck stretch

  • Slowly turn head to the left, hold it for three seconds
  • Slowly turn head to the right, hold it for three seconds
  • Drop your chin towards your chest, then tilt it back as fast as you can
  • Repeat these steps five to ten times

Shoulder roll

  • Roll your shoulders forward then backward using a circular motion

Upper back stretch

  • Grasp one arm below the elbow and gently pull towards the other shoulder
  • Hold this position for five seconds then repeat with the other arm

Wrist wave

  • With your arms extended in front of you, raise and lower your hands several times


Finger stretch

  • Make fists with your hands and hold tight for one second, then spread your fingers wide for five seconds

Arrangement of Your Workstation

The following recommendations will assist in ensuring employee comfort through proper workstation setup:


Work posture

Your seating position at work is important to your comfort and safety. To reduce the painful effects of an awkward workstation, follow these tips when working with computers or typewriters:

  • Make sure your chair is adjusted to provide adequate support to your back
  • Place your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
  • Lower legs should be approximately vertical and thighs should be approximately horizontal
  • The majority of your weight should be on the buttocks
  • Ensure that there is at least 1 inch of clearance between the top of your thighs and the bottom of your desk or table
  • Keep your wrists in a neutral or straight position. Your wrists should not rest on the edge of the desk.

Equipment Setup

By properly arranging your equipment you can also help reduce the harmful effects of repetitive motion. The following tips will assist with arrangement of office equipment:



  • Position computer screens, draperies, blinds and pictures to reduce glare during work hours (e.g., right angle VDT screen)

VDT screen

  • VDT images should be clear and well defined. Adjust the screen's brightness, contrast and display size to meet your needs. If a screen flickers or jumps, have it repaired or replaced.
  • Place the VDT 20-28 inches away from your face. The center of the VDT screen should be approximately 15-25 degrees below your line of vision.


  • Position computer keyboards so that the angle between the forearm and upper are is between 80-120 degrees
  • Place the keyboard in an area that is accessible and comfortable

Wrist support

  • Use wrist supports made of padded material. The wrist supports should allow you to type without bending your wrists.


Neck tension is a common problem caused by holding the telephone between the head and neck. The following tip may help to offset the neck tension caused by this position:

  • Use a headset or speaker phone if you are on the telephone for an extended period of times


For questions or comments regarding ergonomics, contact Risk Control at 512.499.4661.


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  • Office of Risk Management 220 W. 7th Street, Austin, TX 78701 Phone:512.499.4655 Fax:512.499.4524