My Keyboard Was An E-Dinosaur
- Blog Post by Kerry Foster
As the boss I tended to get whatever equipment was left over so my keyboard at the time was an e-dinosaur (that means it wasn’t that old but by e-standards it was) and I found my right arm was aching. As it is with overuse injuries firstly it started as a niggle and then got annoying and finally became a pain every time I started working at my desk and it was a pain I could not ignore.
Lucky for me an Occupational Therapist was at my disposal and his feedback was the keyboard was too high. You know those little steps at the back well I should not have had them raised though I was ignorant they were there anyway. Having those steps up meant my wrists were not in a straight line but bent upwards when I was typing.
Also the keyboard was too long and I had my mouse on the right side that is the end where the numeric keyboard is. This meant my right arm was elevated instead of being at a right angle at my side.
No Wonder My Arm Was Sore
I got another keyboard and also changed the mouse to my left side to take the demand off my sore right arm. I am left-handed but it still took some getting used to.
Once I got all that sorted what was amazing to me though was how irritable my right arm was. Initially I could probably only sustain about 5 minutes before it started aching and I certainly could not manage to use the mouse with my right hand.
Occupational Therapists Have Superior Skills In Ergonomics
Ergonomic principles are important to avoid injury
Since then I have again taken advantage of one of Active OHS’ Occupational Therapists to review my workstation as well as my car seat when I had an irritated peroneal nerve (it is a branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower leg, foot and toes). Similarly there were adjustments that needed to be made like raising my chair both in the office and the car; and I will add making my car seat higher made such a difference.
A Car Is An Office
I am aware of ergonomic principles and work in an industry where they are front of mind. However the expertise and objectivity an allied health professional such as an Occupational Therapist can bring to a workstation assessment (and a car is an office and the seat is a workstation) clearly was superior to my efforts to adjust my equipment in line with my specific needs.
It makes me wonder what people who are not as lucky as me with my immediate access to professional ergonomic advice do?
How Can Active OHS Assist?
Do you have a worker raising concerns about a desk-based or mobile (car/ truck/ other machinery) workstation?
Ergonomics is the right fit between the person and their environment. Ergonomics considers the physiological and psychological factors in a workplace. The aim is to design or modify the work to fit the worker, not the other way around. The goal is to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury due to work.
Active OHS has a team of experienced Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists who are trained in the science of ergonomics. They can attend your workplace and use their experience to promote the health, safety and welfare of your people.
Want To Arrange An Ergonomic Assessment? - Click here
About the author
Kerry Foster Kerry Foster graduated with a B. Social Work in 1980 and since 1995 has been the Director of Active OHS a WorkCover and Comcare Accredited Workplace Rehabilitation Provider. Active OHS is a Occupational Rehabilitation Centre in Sydney NSW that also offers Work Health & Safety Training and Consulting, Ergonomic and Medico-legal Assessments as well as Outsourced Return To Work Co-ordinators.