Cornell University Ergonomics Web
City of Ithaca
Department of Planning and Development
In November 1999, DEA 651 graduate students, under the supervision of Professor Alan Hedge, conducted ergonomic evaluations of 15 workstations in the office. Data was gathered using three workplace assessment techniques: musculoskeletal discomfort survey, RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment) postural observations, and physical measurements. Several ergonomic problems were discovered after analyzing the data from these evaluation techniques - problems with body posture, neck posture, feet posture, keyboard and mouse arrangement, desk height, and screen glare. Recommendations were then made at the individual workstation level to help improve the workstation arrangement and lead to an increase in the comfort, productivity, and health of the employees in the office.
In December 1999, Humanscale donated articulating keyboard/mouse trays to the City of Ithaca as a first step in helping reduce some of the ergonomic issues that had been identified. In February 2000, seven workstations in the office received the new keyboards/mouse trays. Also, based on the recommendations, other ergonomic adjustments were made at these workstations ranging from increasing the desk height, to receiving a new chair, to repositioning the computer monitor (More details on the individual workstation changes can be found on the following pages).
Follow-up Ergonomic Evaluation
In March, approximately one month after the keyboards/mouse trays were installed, DEA 6700 graduate students conducted a follow-up study of the seven employees who received the new keyboard/mouse trays. Each employee received a survey that combined the questions from the musculoskeletal discomfort survey that had been used in November 1999 with new questions that assessed the changes in comfort after the intervention. Additionally, observations using the RULA worksheet (same as in November 1999) were made to determine if the intervention changed the working posture of the employees.
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