n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Analysis of computer operator responses to personalised adjustments made to standard computer workstations : research article

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1010-2728



Computer operators are often required to maintain static working postures at computer workstations which have been assembled in order to accommodate the morphologies of a maximum number of operators, and these workstations generally have a limited degree of adjustability. The present study sought to investigate the effects of a Standard workstation, designed for "average" users, on an anthropometrically diverse sample of computer operators, and to assess whether physical and perceptual responses, as well as performance efficiency were dependent on stature. Further investigation assessed the influence of personalised adjustments to the Standard workstation, based on the anthropometric characteristics of the subjects, as well as the introduction of a custom-designed 'floating' wrist support, on subject responses. All subjects (=30) were tested in each of the three workstations: Standard, Personalised and Wrist Support.

The responses elicited in the Personalised and Wrist Support workstations were improved significantly when compared to the Standard workstation. Joint angles were more natural, upper trapezius EMG was reduced, standard of performance improved and perceptual responses indicated a diminished incidence of body and visual discomfort, as well as greater perceived satisfaction with these workstation dimensions.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that sufficient adjustability be built into workstations so that it is possible to optimally personalise them for individual operators, thereby reducing the awkward postures adopted during this static type of work.

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