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Furniture includes desks and chairs and is extremely important within DSE, it forms the entire workstation set up.

If space allows, try a document holder so that you can avoid awkward neck and eye movements.

The chair position should provide support for the lower back, forearms and should be horizontal, wrists should be straight with eyes at the same level as the top of the monitor. Your feet should be flat on the floor (use a footrest for shorter users) and avoid any pressure to the backs of legs and knees.

Furniture is covered by section five of the HSE DSE Checklist (point to this page) let’s review the question is asks;

1. Is the work surface large enough for all the necessary equipment, papers etc.? Often desks can become covered in folders, paperwork and other equipment such as printers. We need to ensure that there is adequate space available. Consider moving unnecessary items off the desk to create more room. You may have been to ask your employer to consider providing new power and telecoms sockets so that the equipment can be moved.

2. Can the user comfortably reach all the equipment and papers they need to use it? Your workstation may need to be rearranged so that you can easily reach the papers and equipment that is needed.
Consider a document holder for paperwork, this will minimise movement of your neck, eyes and head to read documents.

3. Are the surfaces free from glare and reflection? The surface needs to be of good quality and reflection and glare-free. Mats can be used to reduced glare and reflections.

4. Is the chair suitable? And stable? Does the chair have a working; seat back height and tilt adjustment? Seat height adjustment? Castors or glides? If any of the chairs become unstable or unsuitable in any way then this chair needs either to be repaired or replaced.

5. Is the chair adjusted correctly? A suitable position needs to be found by on the chair, the position should support good overall body posture. Work should be completed by the user in a comfortable position but often training is required (such as this eLearning session) on how to do this.
Often office chairs come with arms if this is the case ensure that this doesn’t stop the user from getting too close to the desk and can cause overstretching of the body. We need to ensure that this is not the case.

6. Is the small of the back supported by the chair’s backrest? When sitting on a chair the back should be straight and supported by the chair, also consider your shoulders, these should be reflexed with your arms on the desk to reduce weight.

7. Are the forearms horizontal and eyes are roughly the same height of the top of the screen? Adjust the height of your chair to get the arms in the right position of support on the desk but that your eyes are level with the top of the screen. It may mean that adjustments may also be required for the desk and the monitors.

8. Are feet flat on the floor, without too much pressure from the seat on the backs of the legs?
Feet should always be flat on the floor if this is not possible then consider using a footrest.