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go to http://ergostanford.stanford.edu
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Environmental Health and Safety
Ergonomic Recommendations for Laptop Computer Use
Laptop (notebook) computers provide a work anywhere platform for users, but compromise computer workstation ergonomics. The joined keyboard
and monitor makes it difficult to create a computer workstation that follows current guidelines without implementing corrective measures.
Guidelines and Solutions:
• Complete the web-based computer workstation ergonomics training (EHS 3400). Register through
• Take frequent breaks (every 30 min for ~2min) and alternate tasks to break up continuous computer
use. If the recommended computer postures cannot be achieved, take breaks more frequently.
• Use an appropriate office chair for prolonged laptop use (over 1 hour).
• Use a separate keyboard and mouse for prolonged laptop use (>1 hour). Position the keyboard and
mouse to allow the shoulders to relax, elbows to be at the sides, and the hands to be at or slightly
below elbow level. Place the laptop on a riser to position the monitor at an appropriate level (Figure 1).
• Use a separate monitor if you prefer to use the keyboard and pointer built into the laptop.
• Take frequent eye breaks. For example, follow the “20-20-20” rule: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet
away for 20 seconds.
• Avoid resting the laptop on you lap for extended periods of time. The weight of the computer
compresses against sensitive tissues in the thigh and pelvic regions. Heat generated by the computer
may pose a burn risk.
• Use a telephone headset for prolonged phone use (> 1 hour/day) and simultaneous phone/computer use.
• Consider the weight of the entire laptop workstation when choosing a carrying case (i.e. the weight of the computer, spare battery, pointing
device, power supply, etc.). A rolling carrying case is recommended for heavier loads (over 10 lb).