Office seating posture
August 05, 2021 Safety News

Seats, Palm Rests, Footrests

It’s summertime: Let’s apply some ergonomic SPF to our backs, hands, and feet!

No, we are not talking about sunscreen! We are talking about the protective benefits of your Seat, Palm rests, and Footrest. 

Your Seat

Your seat is your foundation. Try these simple chair adjustments to get the best support.

  1. Seat height: Adjust your seat height to align with your desk/table so that when you bend your elbow 90 degrees, and position your elbows directly under your relaxed shoulders, your hands will hover over the keyboard. Seat not adjustable? Try adding a seat cushion to gain more height.

  2. Seat back: Adjust your seatback so that the curve of the chair supports the natural curves of your spine. No support in your chair? Try adding a pillow or lumbar support cushion to fill the lower curve of your spine.

  3. Seat depth: When seated, keep about 2-3 inches of space between your calf muscle and the front edge of your chair. If your seat pan is too deep, use a pillow or back support to move you forward in your seat. A footrest may help take any pressure off your legs.

Palm Rests

Palm Rests play a key role in supporting not only your hands, but your upper body and lower back as well.

  1. Position your palm rest so it is flush with the leading edge of the desk.

  2. Place your palms on the palm rest, keeping your elbows under your shoulders, your wrists at elbow height, and your fingers straight ahead on the home keys (ASDFJKL;).

  3. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders so that you feel the weight of your arms and upper body at the palm of your hands.

Foot Rests

Footrests most commonly support a person’s feet when they cannot firmly touch the floor, but individuals both tall and short may benefit from the use of a footrest for other reasons. Use your footrest to improve your posture and significantly increase your lower body circulation without even getting out your chair.

  1. Get a footrest that is wide enough to support both of your feet.

  2. Extend your legs in front of you like driving in your car. When your feet are on the footrest, feel the reduced pressure at the back of your legs.

  3. Use your toes and heels to pivot the footrest forward and backwards. If your footrest does not pivot, pump your ankles and wiggle your toes. This will really improve the circulation to your lower legs and feet.

The 20/20/20 Rule

With your workstation properly adjusted, it is still important to get up at routine intervals to change your posture, improve your circulation, and rest your eyes. Using the 20/20/20 Rule can help prevent eye strain and other issues. According to the 20/20/20 rule, a person should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen.  

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Christopher Benson
Written by

Christopher Benson

Senior Loss Prevention Consultant & Ergonomic Specialist

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