Four ergonomic audits were conducted for a client whose coordinator staff were feeling similar discomfort due to workstations that required awkward positions.
To provide some background, the position involves responding to and managing client requests for home collections. The computer and telephone were used frequently and simultaneously. As well, the Coordinator works with hard copy documents. While on the phone, hand written notes are recorded and referenced. This results in the Coordinator often switching between typing and using the mouse and using the desk surface.
The workstations are dedicated to specific employees so the set up can be customized for each individual. However, this may change in the future and workstations may become shared desks by all Home Collections employees.
The keyboard platform consists of a separate mouse platform positioned below the keyboard level. This is too low, leading to awkward hand, wrist and shoulder postures when using the mouse. This concern is related to the design of the keyboard platform, not the height or position.
Short Term Solution:
During the assessment, a hard notebook of approximate 1.5cm thickness was placed on the mouse platform to raise the height of the mouse surface flush with the keyboard surface. As well, the overall height of the platform was raised to approximately elbow height to minimize awkward postures.
Long Term Solution:
The client should replace the keyboard and mouse platform with a single, rectangular surface that supports both the mouse and keyboard. A sample product is shown in the recommendations page. Note: the current mechanism and arm are appropriate; only the platform surface is recommended for replacement. The product that the Ergonomist suggested was the ISE Value Keyboard Package.
Coordinators switch between using the desk surface and typing or using the mouse frequently. Because a keyboard platform is used for this task, the Coordinator is frequently pushing themselves in or out from the desk; or they tend to reach or lean over the keyboard platform, which is an awkward position.
Short Term Solution:
The client should consider purchasing a document holder that can extend over the keyboard platform. The purpose of this product is to enable the workers to remain in one position with the keyboard extended and instead move the work (i.e. documents in/out, closer to them, as needed). The Flex Desk, which can be found through Ergo Canada, was a recommendation.
These products should help alleviate some discomfort felt by the Coordinators. However, EWI always recommends that an organization conduct a trial of the recommended products and solutions to evaluate effectiveness.