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Effects of keyboard tray geometry on upper body posture and comfort

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The effects of a downward-tilting (DT) keyboard tray on wrist posture, seated posture and self-assessed musculoskeletal discomfort were investigated in a field experiment. Thirty-eight professional office workers were studied. A pretest assessed how they typed using either a conventional keyboard on a desk or on an articulating keyboard tray, and with or without wrist rests. Workers were randomly allocated to a control (n=15) or test group (n=23) that used their existing keyboard in a DT system. A post-test was conducted 3 weeks later. Results showed no significant changes in wrist posture, seated posture or reports of musculoskeletal discomfort for the control group, and ~ 50% of typing wrist movements put the hand in a neutral zone. There were significant improvements in wrist posture, seated posture and upper body musculoskeletal discomfort for the test group using the DT system. Over 80% of typing wrist movements put the hand into a neutral zone with the DT arrangement. Reactions to using a conventional keyboard on a DT system were positive.
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Keywords: CARPAL TUNNEL; DISCOMFORT; KEYBOARD; KEYBOARD TRAY; MUSCULOSKELETAL; POSTURE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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