Checklists Tools

Checklists are not very good diagnostic tools for ergonomic problems, however, they can be useful teaching tools to help you learn about some factors to consider when performing a workstation evaluation.

The Office-ergo checklist this is our own tool created by Chris Grant and shown in the table below on this page
Working Safely with Video Display Terminals and OSHA VDT Checklist This web site discusses basic health effects of computer use, lighting, and workstation set up. It has a nice section on alternative keyboard/ monitor/ document arrangements based on your type of work and has a Yes/ No checklist at the end of the document.
DSE- Display Screen Equipment checklist (pdf). This is a version of the checklist commonly used throughout the European Union and in several SE Asian countries. The DSE asks about the monitor, keyboard/ mouse, software, desk/chair, posture, work environment, rest breaks and eyesight. See our Links & Resources page to learn more about the DSE regulations spelled out in the EU Directive No 90/270/EEC

RULA- Rapid Upper Limb Assessment at Cornell Ergo. RULA is a postural targeting method for estimating the risks of work-related upper limb disorders. A RULA assessment gives a quick and systematic assessment of the postural risks to a worker.

REBA- Rapid Entire Body Assessment at Cornell Ergo. REBA is a postural targeting method for estimating the risks of work-related entire body disorders. A REBA assessment gives a quick and systematic assessment of the complete body postural risks to a worker.

The Office-ergo Checklist

Things to look for Possible solutions, (depending on further analysis)
Chair backrest not used for long periods Check chair fit, especially seat pan depth and height

Check leg room

Check monitor distance and character height

Habit training

Different viewed objects (screen, documents) at different distances from the eyes Use document stand or otherwise equalize distances to within about 10 cm (4″) if rapid viewing changes are required
Elbow flexed for long periods using the telephone Telephone headset


Elbow or forearm resting for long periods on hard or shrp worksurface, chair armrests Pad or round surfaces, corners, and armrests

Replace armrests

Telephone headset

Habit training

Elbows splayed out (shoulder abduction) Lower worksurface

Lower chair armrests

Bring chair armrests in closer

Awareness and habit training

Eyestrain complaints Check all aspects of visual environment

Suggest consultation with vision specialist

Feet dangling, not well supported, or a posture which seems to put pressure on the backs of the thighs Lower chair

Lower worksurface

Habit training

Foot rest (last resort)

Forceful keying, key pounding Habit training

Light-touch keyboard

Forward head posture (peering) or squinting Lower monitor

Tilt monitor back

Check for monitor image quality problems, character height or monitor distance

Suggest consultation with vision specialist

Frequent or prolonged leaning or reaching Rearrange work

Mouse pad, palm or forearm rest

Bring mouse and keyboard closer to body

Hands held actively over the keyboard during keying pauses Habit training

Palm or forearm rest

Light sources that can be seen by the worker Cover or shield light sources

Rearrange work arena

Lower other viewed objects to lower field of view

Lumbar back area not supported Lumbar cushion

Backrest height and tilt

Check chair fit, especially backrest/lumbar height

Monitor closer than approximately 65 cm (25″) Push monitor back (enlarge font size)

Habit training for reclining

Computer glasses

Bring keyboard forward, possibly with a keyboard tray

Monitor image dim, fuzzy, flickery, small, or otherwise difficult to read Upgrade monitor

Use software to enlarge image

Neck extended backwards, head tilted back, even slightly Lower monitor; Remove CPU from under monitor

Lower monitor; Remove tilt-swivel base from

monitor (leave ventilation space)

Check for bifocals and suggest full-frame “computer glasses” prescription

Neck severely flexed (downward) Tilt face of monitor back

Tilt document – do not lay flat on worksurface

Raise document or monitor to a

comfortable height

Adjust posture

Habit retraining

Check glasses for proper prescription

Prolonged hunched or elevated shoulder while holding the phone Telephone headset


Prolonged mouse use Greater work variety

Aggressive break schedule

Alternate hands

Alternative pointing devices

Arm support, including small table

Mouse close to body (extended keyboard tray)

Learn keystroke shortcuts for menus

Prolonged near focusing throughout the day with few far-focusing opportunities Move monitor back as far as possible

Habit training

Rearrange space to provide distance view

Suggest looking into distance for 30 seconds every 30 minutes

Prolonged sitting, especially in only one posture Greater work variety

Aggressive break schedule

Chair that supports posture change, through movement, size, or easy adjustability

Habit training

Move phone and printer to the other side of the office to force standing, or suggest standing when on phone

Check chair fit

Monitor in-out mechanism

Sit-stand worksurface

Raised or tensed shoulders Habit or tension training

Lower worksurface or keyboard

Lower chair armrests

Raise chair, if foot contact with the floor can be maintained

Rapid, sustained, or prolonged keying Greater work variety

Aggressive break schedule

Reduce overtime

Reflected glare on the screen Shield light sources

Shade screen

Glare screen

Move monitor so light enter from side angle, not back Do NOT tip monitor down

Lower light levels

Move light sources

Screen or documents not oriented perpendicular to the line of sight (tipped back slightly is even better) Change monitor, document stand angle
Shiny, low-contrast, or small-print documents Improve lighting on documents if documents cannot be changed
Significant amounts of hand stapling, punching, lifting, opening mail, or other forceful exertions, especially combined with awkward postures Mechanical aids, such as electric stapler or punch

Reduce size of lifted loads

Bring heavy loads close to the body, at a medium height

Substitute sliding (worksurface) or wheeling (floor)

Sharpen letter openers

Too much contrast between screen and surroundings or document; worker feels relief when bright areas are shielded Lower ambient light levels

Turn off, reposition, or dim task lights

Block offending light sources

Change screen polarity to black on white

Twisted torso Rearrange work

Provide more knee space

U-shaped worksurface layout

Swivel chair

Twisting the head to the side Bring viewed item closer to centerline of view
Very bright ambient lighting (above 500 lux or 50 fc) or shadowed areas caused by over-illumination Lower ambient light levels to 200-500 lux (20-50 fc) and use task lights
Working with one or both arms “reaching” toward a mouse or keyboard Bring keyboard closer to body

Mouse pad, palm or forearm rest

Bring mouse closer to keyboard

Wrists bent back (extended) or forward (flexed) for prolonged periods Habit training

Palm rest

Lower, raise, or change slope of the keyboard

Wrists bent to the sides when using side key Habit training

Keyboard with more accessible keys or split keyboard design

Wrists or palms resting for long periods on hard or sharp keyboard or work surfaces Habit training

Palm rest

Padded or rounded surfaces, corners