Ergonomics done right.®
June 19th, 2012

Office Ergonomics Fad vs. Fact Webinar Q & A

by Kent Hatcher, CPE

Thank you to those of you who attend our webinar last week, Office Ergonomics Solutions: Fad vs. Fact. We had fun presenting and hope you found it informative.  Here are our responses to some of the questions we received. If you have additional questions, feel free to comment on this post and we’ll reply.

Q: Do you have references available regarding the decreased mousing & keying ability on treadmills?

Treadmill workstations have not shown higher overall productivity than standing or sitting workstations.  Active workstations may result in performance decreases.  In fact, in 2009, Straker and colleagues determined that typing and mouse performance was actually diminished during walking.

Q: Where did you get the scientific research that a work place stretching program is a fad?

Here is an article we wrote on the topic of workplace stretching.

Q: Is a regular-style mouse o.k. to use?­

Great question. We don’t typically recommend traditional mice, as it is more difficult to maintain neutral wrist postures.  In our opinion, people frequently fall into a static wrist extension of more than 45 degrees, resulting in increased stress on structures of the wrist.

Q: ­What about micro breaks?­

With a properly-fitted keyboard and mouse, the need for micro breaks decreases.  Although the positive impacts of micro breaks are well-founded, particularly with respect to circulation and decreased nerve irritation, company directors are typically not keen on recommendations that will take a person away from his/her work.

Q: ­I can understand your point on a required workplace stretch program (cost/benefit analysis); but what about a voluntary-type stretch program?­

Stretching in general, when properly supervised and cleared by an individual’s medical professional, may be an integral part of a fitness program.

Q: I would like to receive your definition of ergonomics.­

Ergonomics is the art and science of reducing physical and psychological problems that might arise from the interaction between people, equipment and the environment.

Q: ­Would you have a list of standing workstations, keyboards, mice, and accessories that you recommend?­

AliMed is a terrific resource.

Q: ­If I’m understanding correctly, a standing workstation needs to be adjustable and should not have fixed heights?­

Yes, especially if multiple people  utilize the same workstation.  If only one person uses the station, it should be adjustable between standing and sitting positions.