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When I'm at work: Using a computer - Trainer's guide


Getting started

The equipment

If possible, set up a computer workstation to look something like the picture below.

Picture of a computer set up, showing a processor, keyboard, monitor, mouse and printer

Trainer represent information icon

Activity: Your workstation

Ask the learner if they can see all of these items?

Trainer represent information icon Discuss the importance of following safe work practices when working with computers.

Before you start any work with computers you must ensure that you follow safe work practices. You must be comfortable when working at a computer and must always tell your supervisor if you feel you are in any pain or are feeling uncomfortable.

Trainer represent information icon Explain the term ergonomic.

Not only for your comfort, but Australian law states that you have to be safe at work. Ergonomic requirements means your computer and workstation are set up in such a way that you are comfortable and safe when you are working at your computer.

Following is a list of areas around your workstation that you need to pay particular attention to.

Trainer represent information icon Help the supported employee set up the following at their workstation.

This is vital for you to be able to do your work well. Your feet should be on the ground and your hands should be resting comfortably on the keyboard. Your hands should be at the same angle as your elbows.

Trainer represent information icon Talk with the learner about each of these safety areas and why they are important.

These should be checked and adjusted daily if someone else has been using your desk and chair. Demonstrate to the learner the importance of having the chair height, seat and back adjusted correctly. Talk with the learner about the importance of workplace safety when using the computer.

You should not be looking up or down at your monitor (or screen) – it should be directly in front of you at eye level or slightly lower.

These should be placed where it feels comfortable for you. The keyboard should be in front of you. The mouse should be on your right, if you use your right hand, or on your left if you use your left hand.

Trainer represent information icon Discuss the importance of having clear space in front to use the keyboard and move the mouse.

Lighting should be strong and not have any glare.

Trainer represent information icon Discuss why good lighting is important when using a computer.

The following diagram illustrates the correct way to set up and sit at your workstation.

Checking your workstation

Source: Stephens, A & Symons, J 2002, Develop and use spreadsheets, Tertiary Press, Victoria.

Try to get up for a few minutes every hour you are at the computer. You may like to walk around or do some exercises to relieve any muscle strain. Some examples of stretching exercises are set out below.

Trainer represent information icon Describe and demonstrate each of the exercises to the learner.


Neck sample

Drop your head slowly first to the left, then to the right. Drop your chin to your chest, then raise it, letting your head drop back. Turn your head to the left, then to the right. Repeat two or three times.


Shoulders sample

With your elbows at your sides slowly roll your shoulders forward three or four times. Then roll them backwards three or four times.


Arms sample

Raise your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder level. Rotate your arms forward in small circles three or four times. Then rotate them backwards three or four times.

Upper arms

Upper arms sample

Clasp your hands behind your back, locking your elbows. Raise your arms high, then let them drop. Repeat three or four times.


Wrists sample

Place your forearms and wrists flat on the desk. Keeping your wrists on the table, bend your hands and fingers back. Repeat three or four times.


Fingers sample

Place your hands palm down and spread your fingers into a fan. Count to five, then relax. Repeat three or four times.

Trainer represent information icon Encourage the learner to practise each of the exercises above.

Trainer represent information icon Summarise this topic with the learner and sign the topic checklist in the learner's workbook.

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