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Cornell University Ergonomics Web

DEA 651: Evaluation of Proposed Ergonomic Workstations in Olin Library


This study assessed the ergonomic design of alternative library employee workstations at Olin Library on the Cornell University campus. Five office workstation designs (2 from Steelcase, 3 from Haworth) were evaluated. A Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) and Video Display Terminal (VDT) Checklist for posture and workstation layout were administered for each design. The user's posture, while keying in data from paper and book sources, was assessed. How well each workstation layout supported cataloging, searching and receiving, and ordering activities was also assessed. A Reach Envelope Analysis was also undertaken. In each workstation, the work surfaces were 30" deep. Workstation designs did not allow a rolling cart to be wheeled up next to the worker. These two factors may contribute to unsafe postures if users try to reach for items that are too far away or if they twist around behind them to reach an item off a nearby cart. Users need to be trained not to overreach and to walk to the cart. None of the workstation were set up with a chair and monitor that had fully adjustable height and orientation--two important components for allowing proper head and body postures. Of the five designs that were compared, the "cockpit" workstation (#5) by Haworth, with the Proformix keyboard tray, was rated as the best ergonomic design, especially for stability of mouse and keyboard tray, promotion of safe arm and upper body postures and for minimal reach distances. User education for safe postures and matching of the workstation layout to the habits and activities of library employees are recommended, as well as further observations of actual employees using these workstations post-installation.

Explore our site for more in-depth evaluation and photographs from our study.

Workstation #1 | Workstation #2 | Workstation #3 | Workstation #4

Workstation #5 (C) | Existing Workstation | Posture Analysis | Reach Envelope

CUergo: Cornell's Ergonomics Home Page

This page created by DEA 651: Ergonomics, Anthropometrics, and Biomechanics,
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Last updated January 25, 2009