#3 – Practices proper safety procedures

Reference the material from dental assistant level 1 Practices proper safety procedures.


Hygienist Positioning – Positioning the client too low or too high can force poor posture

Ideal posture:

  • Forearms at 45% angle to upper arms
  • Back straight
  • Shoulders straight and relaxed
  • Chair seat sloped slightly forward – hips slightly higher than knees
  • Back against the back rest
  • Shoulders relaxed, elbows close to your body
  • Feet flat on the floor, knees under the chair if possible

Sore back can be relieved by:

  • Use of a back support belt (reduces back problems by 30%)
  • Exercise to strengthen your back muscles
  • Stretch between seeing clients
  • Wrist protectors can help, but are bulky and hard to use normal hand positions

Have good lighting to see into your client’s mouth

  • Cover on overhead light should be cleaned daily with a soft cloth to avoid scratches
  • Throw away badly scratched mouth mirror faces (keep the handles!)
  • Magnification is very helpful

Chair                                                                                                  Yes     No     N/A                   

          Is your chair fully adjustable?

Height:  Seat height should be adjusted to allow adequate leg clearance beneath the seat for knees, calves and feet.  There also should be space between the front of the seat and the back of the knees to ensure the chair does not inhibit lower leg circulation.  Lumbar:  Backrest should be adjusted so the contour of the chair supports the lumbar (lower back) region.  The body should be in an upright position, although a slight forward or backward angle is also acceptable.

Arm rests:  Armrests should be adjusted to allow you to get close enough to your work without getting in the way.  When sitting upright and facing forward in the chair, the arm rests should be in slight contact with the elbows, but not forcing the shoulders to hunch or elevate.

Do the castors roll freely and without obstruction?


Patient Positioning

When reclined, does the position of the patient allow you to perform necessary procedures without causing you to stretch out or hunch over uncomfortably?  Ask the client to shift to the back of the headrest.  Forearms should be at an angle between approximately 45-90 degrees from your upper arms.  Back should be in an upright position, or with a slight forward angle.  Shoulders should be straight and relaxed.

Accessibility Of Instruments, Etc.

          Are instrument trays, handpieces, instruments, etc., within easy reach?

Is operatory or patient room set up to allow free and unobstructed movement or rolling chair?

When chair is adjusted properly, counter tops or work surfaces should be at a height that allows your forearms to operate at approximately a 90-degree angle from your upper arms.

Are you able to keep your arms from resting on any hard or square edges of work surfaces?

Instrument Vibration

          Are handpieces properly maintained to avoid excessive vibration?

Vision Magnification

          Magnification forces correct posture to avoid blurred vision, awkward positions.

Other advantages – improved diagnosis, improved treatment


Good lighting reduces eye fatigue

Minimal comfort is 10 foot candles

Too much light is as damaging as too little

Keep light Fantastik light cover clean




The monitor should be positioned so that ¾ of the viewing screen is located at eye level or below.

Is the viewing distance of the screen approximately 36-40 inches in front of you?

Is the monitor screened or filtered to prevent excessive glare?

Yes     No     N/A

If you wear bifocals or trifocals, can you see the monitor without tilting your head?

Work Station & Keyboard Adjustment

Is the keyboard located at approximately elbow level?

When using the keyboard, are your wrists in line with your forearms, and not bent upwards, downwards or to one side or another?

Are your arms resting at your sides, rather than stretching out in front of you?

Can you keep arms from resting on hard or square edges of the work surface?

Are your feet flat on the floor, or footrest, and knees bent at approximately 90 degree angle?



Breaks And Exercise Programs

          Do you take short and frequent breaks during the day to reduce fatigue?

Do you perform stretching or strengthening exercises during breaks?

Do you frequently change body positions while working?

Are you on a regular exercise program, with specific attention to back exercises and wrist and arm strengthening exercises?

Do you practice hand and wrist exercises daily, such as bending, flexing , and rotating?

Do you take vision breaks every hour?


          Pace yourself.  Taking breaks gives your body time to recover.  Try to avoid extreme tiredness, since you are more prone to injury when tired.  If possible, reduce the amount of overtime you work, and avoid jobs where stress to meet deadlines is pronounced.

Adjust work surfaces to proper levels, heights, and angles.

Develop good work habits, such as good posture, keeping wrists and back straight, head aligned over your spine and shoulders relaxed.

If you do experience pain that suggests a repetitive motion disorder, get medical attention.  Don’t ignore the symptoms.  Typically, pain that goes away overnight is a sign of fatigue.  Pain that is continuous or recurring could be an indication of a more serious problem.  Don’t hesitate to have it checked out.

Signed by: ______________________  Date: _____________________