Ergonomics, the study of equipment design (computer workstations) that takes
into account human comfort and body mechanics, will gain increasing importance.
Repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, general fatigue, and eyestrain suffered
by the constant computer user will provide the impetus for this. If design factors can
prevent conditions with long-term health implications, it is in the best interest of both
management and the employee to build them into the equipment. Already, imaginative
inventors and entrepreneurs are turning their energies to this end. The worktable,
shown at figure 4-14 (the incliner), features a table that can be lowered into the lap. As
the tabletop moves lower from its maximum height of 31 inches to 25 inches, the top
surface moves the computer forward, bringing both the screen and the keyboard within
easy range of the operator. With this model, the more you incline, the more the incliner
inclines. It allows the individual to sit on a sofa, instead of a straight-back chair, and
work at the keyboard with the computer screen within eye range. Described as
ergonomic furniture, one model accommodates small carriage printers and another,
laser printers. This model follows ergonomic principles. The body is balanced over its
center of gravity, thus preventing neck strain. Backpressure is reduced because the
torso is reclining with the legs extended, and circulation is improved. Since the feet are
positioned on an incline, pressure on the back and ankles is eased. As such furniture
becomes more readily available, prohibitive prices will go down, and they will come into
more widespread use.
Figure 4-14. The "incliner," an example of an ergonomically designed workstation.