Be safe at your desk

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Napo health and safety training

Be safe at your desk

Prolonged use of computer workstations and display screen equipment (DSE) can lead to neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, along with stress, fatigue and temporary eyestrain.

These disorders can be avoided if DSE assessments are carried out, equipment is set up correctly and good practice is applied.

10 top tips for a more comfortable workstation

  1. Move the chair close to the workstation.
  2. Sit upright, supported by the chair’s back support.
  3. Incline the seat 5-10° downwards.
  4. Sit with feet flat on the floor, or supported by a footstool.
  5. Sit directly in front of the computer screen and keyboard to avoid neck twisting.
  6. Position screens at eye level (laptops should be raised and use a separate keyboard) and look into the far distance every few minutes to vary focal length and avoid eyestrain.
  7. Check the direction of the light source to avoid glare or reflections on the screen. Place the screen at right angles to the window when possible.
  8. Relax shoulders, periodically check they do not become tense, rise up or hunch.
  9. Let upper arms hang down naturally from shoulders – there should be a right angle at your elbow when typing.
  10. Never use keyboard or mouse wrist rests for permanently resting your wrists on while you are working.

Don’t just sit there

Remember to take regular breaks away from your PC. Get up and wander round the office or take a stroll outside from time to time.

Here are some simple exercises you can do throughout the day.

Sitting down

  1. Put your hands together with your fingers interlaced and extend your arms, palms facing out and stretch your arms forward. Reverse the lock of the fingers. Do both locks for 10-20 seconds.
  2. Sit forward on your chair. Put both hands to your lower back for support. Then lean back (10-15 seconds)
  3. Cross one leg over the other and take the opposite arm to your knee i.e. Left hand to right knee. Twist towards the open side i.e. to your right. Reverse. Do both sides for 10 seconds each.


  • Put your palms together, fingers pointing up (like you are praying), and push your hands down until your wrists are horizontal in front of you (10 seconds)
  • Put your palms together, fingers pointing DOWN, and pull your hands up until your wrists are horizontal in front of you (10 seconds)
  • Put your arms behind your back. Grab one wrist with the opposite hand and pull your arm down while tilting your head from side to side. Reverse. (10 seconds each arm)
  • Put your arms above your head and hold opposite elbows then lean from side to side. Reverse the ‘lock’ and repeat (10 seconds each side)
  • Arms above your head, fingers interlaced and palms upwards, reaching up as high as you can. Reverse the lock of your fingers and repeat (10 seconds each stretch)
  • Arms by your sides and roll your shoulders up and back for 3-5 seconds, 3 times
  • Arms by your side and shake your hands out for 10 seconds

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