Factsheet: Office desks                                                                             

What the law says

  • The height of the desk should suit the user if the desk is used daily for 2 hours or more.
  • The desk should be adjustable if used for different tasks or by different users who use the desk daily for 2 hours or more. Often, this entails having a fully adjustable standing desk.
  • The desktop should be matt so as not to reflect any annoying light or any light from the computer screen.
  • The tabletop should be big enough to accommodate a computer screen, a keyboard, a pointing device (a mouse or similar), documents and other accessories, while providing you with sufficient free space for you to rest your arms.
  • There should be sufficient space for different working positions and to enable you to move.

What can the employer do

  • Make sure new employees are instructed in the way the workplace operates. You can use the BFA Kontor's ergonomics film.
  • Fully adjustable standing desks are not a requirement. However, as a general rule, they are necessary if different users use the same desk daily for 2 hours or more at a time, because the height, whether sitting or standing, should suit the individual user.
  • Your employees should have an ergonomic sitting position, so as not to develop any discomfort or pain. 
  • Include the Health and Safety Organisation in decisions about buying new desks, to ensure they suit work requirements, just as you would refer to the Health and Safety Organisation in other relevant health and safety matters.

What can the individual person do

  • Perform this test to check if your desk is adjusted correctly:
    • Sit down on you chair, relax your arms and let them hang down by your sides and relax your shoulders.
    • Bend your elbows and move your arms up onto the desk. If the desk and chair are adjusted correctly, the desk should support your forearms and you should be able to relax your shoulders.
  • Be mindful of varying your work at the desk and avoid fixed working positions by adjusting the height of the desk or standing up whenever you’re on the phone or cleaning your desk.
  • Contact your employer or Health and Safety Representative if you’re not comfortable at your office desk.

Legal basis