Computer Workstations

Ergonomics for Clinical Support & Diagnostic Services
Computer Workstations & Office Ergonomics

The use of computer technology in health care has increased dramatically over the past decade in a nationwide effort to improve the delivery of patient care. Application of ergonomics to the design of computer workstations, hardware and software and related work systems is more important than ever to prevent work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) to health care workers and to reduce the risk of error when delivering patient care services.

On this page:

Guidelines & Toolkits

Ergonomics for Computer Workstations – Websites with Interactive Tools and Multiple Resources

Ergonomics for Computer Workstations – Guides you can download

Selected Ergonomics Standards for Computer Workstations

White Papers


Selected Publications Related to Computer Workstation Ergonomics

Selected Publications Related to Information Technology in Health Care.

Other Resources

Guidelines and Toolkits

Ergonomics for Computer Workstations – Websites with Interactive Tools and Multiple Resources

Computer Workstation Adjustment On-line Training This free interactive program gives you step-by-step instructions on how to adjust your chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor at your computer workstation and set up to perform mobile computing tasks from the Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries.

Ergonomics Checklist for Computer workstations. Courtesy of L. Enos

Ergonomics Ideas BankKeyword search: Computers. A searchable collection of ideas, that may help you reduce exposure to awkward postures, high hand force, repetitive motions, lifting, vibration and other risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in your workplace from the Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries.

Ergonomics: Setting Up Your Computer Workstation (a ‘how to’ video you can view on YouTube) University of California Davis Health System

Computer/Office Ergonomics Topics – Multiple resources from Cornell University including:

ErgoMatters®  from the California State Compensation Insurance Fund. ErgoMatters® are short articles written by State Fund’s team of ergonomics experts. Each article is designed to provide technical or background information on a specific issue pertaining to ergonomics in the workplace.

Ergonomics Awareness Website with links to multiple resources including posters from the University of Michigan

Office Ergonomics. A variety of office ergonomics tips from UCLA Ergonomics

Office Ergonomics. Website with links to multiple resources including videos from SAIF, Inc., Oregon

Ergonomics for Computer Workstations – Guides you can download

Computer Workstation Ergonomics in Health Care (2009)– University of California Davis Health System

Easy Ergonomics for Computer Users (2005). Cal/OSHA Consultation Service, Research and Education Unit, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, California Department of Industrial Relations.

Evaluating Your Computer Workstation(2004). Oregon OSHA

Office ergonomics: Self assessment worksheet. SAIF, Inc., Oregon

Officewise – A guide to health and safety in the office (2006) From WorkSafe Victoria, Australia

United States Army Public Health Command Ergonomics Resources

Workstation Comfort Neutral Posture. An educational poster from SAIF, Inc., Oregon.

Selected Ergonomics Standards for Computer Workstations

ANSI/HFES 100 Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations (2007)

BIFMA – Ergonomics guideline for VDT Furniture used in office workspaces (2002)

HFES 200 Human Factors Engineering Software User Interfaces (2008)

HFES 300 Guidelines for Using Anthropometric Data in Product Design (2004)

IESNA Illumination Regulations and guidelines

ISO Ergonomics Standards (

White Papers

Comfortable Portable Computing: The Ergonomic Equation. A White Paper (2008) from Ergotron, Inc.

User Centric, Inc. has published numerous whitepapers and articles related to software and computer program usability ergonomics. Their collection can be found at: The article titles available include:

  • User Experience in the Contact Center. A White Paper Provided by User Centric, Inc.
  • How to Select an Electronic Health Record System that Healthcare Professionals Can Use
  • Developing a Road Map for Addressing the Behavioral Aspects of HIT “Meaningful Use”.

Articles & Books

Selected Publications Related to Computer Workstation Ergonomics

An Effective Office Ergonomic Assessment and Intervention Program (2009). Koehl, B. AAOHN Journal 57(12): 488-490.

Applying Ergonomics to Nurse Computer Workstations (2003). Nielsen, K & Trinkoff, A. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 21(3):150-157.

Fitness Ball Is Not Suitable As A Chair (2005) WorkSafe Victoria, Australia New Feb 2013

Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics -3rd Edition (2006). Edited by Gavriel Salvendy. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care and Patient Safety (2012, 2nd edition). Edited by Pascale Carayon. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Introduction to Computers for Healthcare Professionals, Fourth Edition (2005). Irene Joos. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.

Kodak’s Ergonomic Design for People at Work. 2nd edition (2003). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Office Ergonomics (2001). Karl H.E. Kroemer,  CRC Press, Taylor & Francis LLC.

On or Off the Ball? (2008).  Fraser, M. Association of Canadian Ergonomists. Ergonomics, 2008.

Stability Ball Versus Office Chair: Comparison of Muscle Activation and Lumbar Spine Posture During Prolonged Sitting (2006). Gregory, D.E., Dunk, N.M., & Callaghan, J, P. HUMAN FACTORS, 48(1): 142–153.

Selected Publications Related to Information Technology in Health Care

Are electronic medical records associated with improved perceptions of the quality of medical records, working conditions, or quality of working life? (2004).  Tzion Karsh, B et. al. Behaviour & Information Technology, 23(5):327–335.

Informatics Column – the Online Journal Of Issues in Nursing – articles related to the use of computers in health care from the American Nurses Association (ANA)

From Tasks To Processes: The Case For Changing Health Information Technology To Improve Health Care (2009). Walker, J & Carayon, P. Health Affairs, 28(2): 467-477.

Mobile and Fixed Computer Use by Doctors and Nurses on Hospital Wards: Multi-method Study on the Relationships Between Clinician Role, Clinical Task, and Device Choice (2009). Anderson, P, et. al.J  Med Internet Res. 11(3): e32.

Patient Safety and Health Information Technology: Role of the Electronic Health RecordChapter 47. Nancy Staggers, Charlene Weir, and Shobha Phansalk in Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses (2008). R. Hughes (ed). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Unintended Consequences of Information Technologies in Health Care—An Interactive Sociotechnical Analysis(2007). Harrison, M, et al.  J Am Med Inform Assoc. 14:542

When No One Has Time. Measuring the Impact of Computerization on HealthCare Workers (2008). Morrison, J & Lindberg, P. AAOHN Journal. September 2008, 56(9):373 378.

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Other Resources

The OSHA E-Tool for Computer Workstations

This E-Tool illustrates simple, inexpensive principles that will help you create a safe and comfortable computer workstation including equipment purchasing checklists

The Office Ergonomics Research Committee (OREC)

Information and research projects related to understanding musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among office workers.

Working Safely In Health Care a Practical Guide (2007).  Ed - D. Fell Carlson. Thomson Delmar Learning. Chapter 3 discusses how to Perform Clinical Tasks Safely by applying ergonomics principles to prevent

The Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS), Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, University of Wisconsin - Madison. Multiple publications related to patient safety, human factors and information technology.

Ergoweb supports the ergonomics community with industry news, resources and a collaboration community. Various articles and resources.

The following websites provide a variety of information related to computer use in health care. Keywords to use when searching are: 'computers'; 'information technology in healthcare'  'electronic medical records' and 'health information technology'