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What is an Ergonomic Monitor?

By A. Martin
Updated May 16, 2024
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An ergonomic monitor refers to a computer screen that has adjustable components that allow for the user to maintain a healthy position while using the computer. Ergonomics is the science of regulating work-related environments and equipment to best support the worker's physical needs. In an office environment, ergonomics generally refers to the design and options available in the computer workstation where most work is completed. Many office workers report health problems related to repetitive movements and prolonged hours staying in the same position. Ergonomic design aims to reduce the effects of the necessary use of equipment for long periods of time. An ergonomic monitor is a key part of creating a work station that optimizes productivity while also preventing physical ailments.

Common physical problems associated with computer use include eye and vision problems as well as Work-related MusculoSkeletal Disorders (WMSD). Eye and vision problems range from pain to blurriness. WMSDs include muscle and joint pain and strain in hands, shoulders, necks, and wrists caused by repetitive movements, poor positioning, fast pace, and working continuously without sufficient breaks. An ergonomic monitor, paired with a more ergonomic workstation, allows for a healthier workplace. The ergonomic monitor allows for appropriate positioning and lighting to reduce the effects of long hours working at a computer workstation. An ergonomic monitor has three elements: a tilting component, a swivel component, and a brightness and contrast component.

The ability for the monitor to tilt allows the user to adjust the screen vertically. Adjusting the angle can prevent glare on the computer screen from overhead lighting, which lessens stress on the user’s eyes. By tilting the monitor so that the top of the screen is further from the user than the bottom of the screen, it can allow the line of sight to be more natural, which increases visual performance and further reduces stress on the eyes. The swiveling ability lets the user move the monitor horizontally. Swiveling the monitor changes the position so that the user can work comfortably as needed. This feature eliminates the need for putting the neck and shoulders in an awkward position for prolonged periods of time which can minimize strain. The capacity to regulate the brightness and contrast of the monitor lets the user change the lighting of the information on the screen; using the appropriate brightness and contrast is important to reducing eye strain.

It is also important to use an ergonomic monitor appropriately in the workstation. This means that the monitor should be at an appropriate distance from the worker's eyes, the top of the screen should be at eye level, and the angle of the monitor is optimized. An ergonomic monitor is used as a part of a workstation that can improve productivity and decreases office-related medical problems.

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Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Apr 09, 2014

@Laotionne - In addition to reducing screen glare that can cause eye problems, ergonomic monitors help promote good posture, which can go a long way to promoting better health.

To get the full benefits of an ergonomic monitor, be sure you are positioned at least 20 inches from the monitor when you are working. Align the top of the monitor so that it is at or below your eye level. You don't want the monitor positioned in such a way that you have to look up at the screen.

You should also position the monitor so that it is at a perpendicular angle to the window when possible. Of course this will not be possible in all work stations.

By Laotionne — On Apr 08, 2014

The last paragraph of this article talks about the importance of using ergonomic monitors correctly. When ergonomic monitors and other ergonomic devices were installed at my workplace, no one bothered to explain to us how to use the new equipment. We were simply told that the new items would promote better health.

With the introduction of the new equipment, we started a game of experimentation. Some things such as tilting the monitors to remove the glare were simple enough to catch on to, but others took a bit more experimentation. Maybe it's a testament to my ignorance, but I would recommend that employers provide a brief training session on the use of ergonomic monitors and other ergonomic equipment.

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