Safety and Ergonomic Rules
As computer use has increased both at work and home in recent years Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) has become associated with keyboard use. To reduce your risk of developing RSI or other overuse injuries you should follow best practice in posture, technique, workstation set-up, and take regular breaks. Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk.
Don't overstress yourself. If you feel pain while typing or any stress, stop. If the pain persists, consult your doctor.
Posture & technique
Sit with your back straight and your feet, either flat on the floor or on a foot rest. You should be arms length, 12-30 inches (25-75cm), from your computer monitor (Visual Display Unit). Raise the monitor (Visual Display Unit) so the your eyes are level with the top of the screen. Make sure the F and J keys of the keyboard are immediately opposite the middle of your body.
When typing, keep your elbows close to your body, wrists and forearms level. After striking each key return your fingers to their resting position over the home row.
- Good working positions [osha.gov]
- How to sit correctly [nhs.uk]
- The Alexander Technique [alexandertechniqueworldwide.com]
Take regular breaks
It is desirable to avoid staying in one position for extended periods. With excessive computer use, knowingly or unknowingly you tend to sit in the same position for long hours. You may not feel the pain right away. Break up your day by alternating tasks when possible.
It may help you to use software to remind yourself to take a break and chill from your keyboard.
- MS Windows & classic Mac OS: Kensington mouseworks (rest reminder feature) [kensington.com]
- Mac OS X: Time out! [cnet.com]
- Linux/X11: Xwrits [lcdf.org]
Ready to Start
Just a few more tips before moving on to the first exercise.
Sit up straight, elbows close to the body. Try to keep shoulders, arms and hands relaxed to avoid tension and discomfort.
Take breaks between exercises to relieve tension and regain your concentration. Don't stress yourself.
We hope you enjoy learning to touch type with our Typing Tutor course!