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River East Transcona School Division
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Computer Workstation Ergonomics

 Safe Operating Procedure


 Document Control

A. System
RETSD Quality Management System
B. System ID
C. Sector
​Workplace Safety and Health Management System
D. Sector ID
E. Domain
F. Repository
​Divisional SharePoint Website
G. Audience
​All Staff
H. Status
I. Title:
Computer Workstation Ergonomics
J. Format
K. Type
​Safe Operating Procedure
L. Tags

M. Origin
N. Reviewed

O. Revised
P. Owner
​Manager, Workplace Safety and Health and Administrative Services
Q. Owner Email
R. Primary Approval
​Divisional  Workplace Safety and Health Committee
S. Department Approval
​Director of Human Resources
T. Senior Administration  Approval
​Assistant Superintendent - Human Resources 
U. Board Approval
​GBG Workplace Safety and Health
V. Notes

W. Scheduled Review

X. File Address
Y. User Defined 1

Z. User Defined 2

 Safe Operating Procedure Controlled Document



To establish divisional expectations and standards regarding ergonomics of the seated position program at River East Transcona School Division (RETSD) that meets or exceeds all municipal, federal and provincial legislated workplace safety and health program requirements.


An  ergonomics of the seated position program must be defined and documented for compliance as part of Element 2, identify and control hazards and emergencies, for the effective development and implementation of a workplace safety and health program under Manitoba legislation.




This safe operating procedure and associated documents establish a procedure for ergonomics of the seated position program for all workers at RETSD. The best practices apply to all RETSD worksites.



All stakeholders and workers are responsible for adjusting their workstations to minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injury associated with computer workstations.




Office workers often sit at their workstations for long periods, day after day. If they do not have their chairs and workstations set up correctly, they may be sitting and using their computer in a manner that could lead to injuries over time.


In order to minimize the risk of injury, workers should be equipped with adjustable chairs and workstations, and be trained on how to properly adjust them. Proper adjustment techniques and other considerations are listed below.




Following the tips below will set up your chair in a way that minimizes the risk of injury.


  • Adjust the height of the chair: 

    If an adjustable height keyboard tray is available, adjust the chair to a height where your feet are comfortably flat on the floor and the knees are bent 90º-110º.

    If the keyboard is at a fixed height, adjust the chair to a height where the elbows are at the same height as the keyboard. Provide a footrest if this raises the feet off the floor. 

    Adjust the tilt of the chair so that the seat-pan is flat or tilted slightly forward. If your seat-pan can move forward and back, adjust it so there are 2-3 finger widths between the front of the seat and the back of your legs. 

  • Adjust the height of the backrest lumbar support to the small of the back. 

    Adjust the back angle so that the worker feels a slight pressure in the small of the back from the lumbar support when sitting upright. This slight pressure will help the workers maintain a good sitting posture. 

    Place the arm rests directly under the shoulders with the elbows held directly at the side of the body. 

    Adjust the arm rests to a height where the arms are supported but not pushed up, and the forearms are parallel with the floor.


While many people recognize that having a properly set up chair is important in preventing injuries, they often overlook the importance of the set-up of their workstation. 

  • If a height adjustable keyboard tray is available, position the keyboard tray at the height of the elbows. If the keyboard height is fixed, raise or lower the chair so that the elbows are at the height of the keyboard. Provide a footrest if the chair height keeps the feet off the ground.


  • Adjust the angle of the keyboard and if available, keyboard tray so the wrists are flat or tilted slightly downward. Be sure to place the feet on the keyboard in the closed position.


  • Place the monitor directly in front of the user at about arms-length. Large monitors can be placed a bit further away.




  • If bi-focal or progressive lenses are worn, place the monitor as low as possible, and increase the font size to permit use of the top portion of the glasses.


  • For workers without these corrective lenses, position the top of the screen at eye level.


  • Position the mouse directly beside the keyboard and at the same height. If there is insufficient space on the tray for the mouse one option is to use a mouse bridge which covers the numeric keypad (see image above).


  • Sit close to the keyboard and mouse to reduce forward reach. Elbows should be at your sides.


  • Place the phone or other regularly used items in locations that minimize reaching and twisting. Cradling the phone between the ear and the shoulder should be avoided. If you often use your phone and computer at the same time, use a hands free system (i.e. speaker phone or headset).




Consider some of the following types of equipment and work practices to further reduce the risk of injuries:


  • Split or "Ergonomic" keyboards can help keep the arms and wrists in a straighter, less stressful posture.


  • A document holder in front of (or right beside) your monitor reduces the need to twist your neck or lean forward if you often need to look at paper documents while at your computer.


  • Try using the mouse with your other hand to reduce repetitive movements of the same hand.


  • Numerous mouse alternatives (i.e. vertical or joystick style) are available that can help keep your hand and wrist in a more neutral position.

  • Wrist gel pads can be used to prevent your wrists from resting on the desk while typing. They should not be used with the mouse, however, as this can lead to repeated side-to-side movement of the wrist.


  • The seated posture is stressful for the body. Slouching in particular increases the long-term risk of pain and injury. Taking regular quick breaks from sitting can help reduce the risk.


  • Use regular cues to stand as much as possible (i.e. a ringing phone).


  • Place the printer at a distance to encourage standing and walking.


  • Avoid postures which involve twisting or over-reaching since these may lead to injuries over time. Use the wheels on your chair or stand up.


  • Drink a healthy amount of water to encourage regular mini-breaks.




A combination of hard-copy postings, distributions and electronic posting will be used to communicate safety and health program information within RETSD.




All stakeholders shall be trained to their required level of involvement in the WSHMS to become familiar with its structure, organization, and how to look up and access information both electronically and in hard copy form through:


  • New employee orientation, employee manuals or employment information packages


  • Return to work or remedial programs, as required on an individual basis


  • Planned ongoing training through team meetings, individual coaching or other methods as developed or adopted




Ultimately, the superintendent shall be responsible for the sustainability of the WSHMS, and shall enforce compliance to standards at a divisional level.


Workplace safety and health management system compliance shall be managed through the application of performance management and progressive discipline policies and procedures.


Worker failure to comply with provisions of the RETSD safety program may lead to discipline, up to and including discharge from employment and / or other remedies available at law.


Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Act or equivalent legislation as applicable


Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation or equivalent legislation as applicable


Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation Part 02 – General Duties


Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation Part 08 – Musculoskeletal Injuries


Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Program Element 02 – Identifying and Controlling Hazards


All other associated and applicable workplace safety and health management system documents