Choosing the correct work surface is an integral part of the overall workstation setup.
In choosing a work surface the following should be considered.
The work surface should:
• be solid enough to support all of the equipment and materials the user requires.
• provide adequate space to house and utilize all external equipment required.
• provide enough clearance beneath the work surface to allow the user to sit or stand directly in front of, or close to, the work surface in an upright posture without obstruction.
• allow the user to move freely through multiple postures while seated (including extending the lower legs), or to stand (CSA Z412-17).
• be high enough to allow the user to sit and/or stand with their feet comfortably supported on the floor while maintaining neutral postures for sitting and/or standing, and without exposing the user to contact stress.
There are four common “shapes” of desks that are used in the office environment:
Straight • Corner • L-shaped • U-shaped
• May allow workspace on either side of the computer.
• Paperwork area potentially limited by length of straight sides.
• Often curve is too small to position keyboard and mouse correctly to maintain neutral postures.
• Leg clearance is often limited by desk supports.
• Limited by available workspace and the size of office.
Desk configuration will be dictated by the available space and tasks the user is required to perform.
Regardless of the desk type, it is important to ensure that the equipment sitting upon it is positioned properly.
A workspace envelope is a measure of the maximum and normal ranges of the motion of the arm.
The workspace envelope is divided into three zones:
1. Primary Zone
Frequently used objects should be located within the primary zone, approximately elbow to fingertip away from the midline of the body. Such items would include the keyboard, mouse, and telephone (depending on usage).
2. Secondary Zone
Items that are used less frequently should be located in the secondary zone, approximately arm’s length away from the midline of the body. Such items would include the telephone (depending on usage), pens, stapler, etc.
3. Tertiary Zone
Items touched rarely may be located in the tertiary zone, greater than an arm’s length away from the midline of the body. Such items would include the monitor (due to viewing distance requirements) and infrequently used books/documents, etc.
Filing cabinets/drawers under the workstation should not interfere with the user’s ability to properly adjust the keyboard tray or perform paperwork.
• Filing cabinets should be equipped with a locking system so that no more than one drawer can be opened at one time.
• File and desk drawers should be kept closed when not in use to avoid potential injury.
• Arrange cabinets so frequently used files are in the middle drawer (or closest to elbow level) to reduce bending or reaching.